I wasn’t really expecting anything in particular. We’d booked the tickets back in March, and I was basically going because a bunch of other LJ people were going. I’m always suspicious of new musicals, so I hadn’t paid it much attention. And the beginning of Wicked didn’t exactly inspire me with wonder. For a start, the Apollo is an absolutely giant theatre, especially now I’ve got used to the smaller theatres that are prevalent in London, and it just felt like a giant cave. And the audience was pissing me off, because they kept doing extended applause and cheering for no readily apparent reason, which frankly, as far as I could see, was just indulging in gratuitous displays of emotion. Pah. And the opening number was mildly entertaining, but not tremendously so. I was wondering what all the excitement was about.
But then, y’see, it just kept getting better and better. Elphaba is a great character, understandably prickly, but she so clearly wants to fit in (like when she’s daydreaming about the Wizard degreenifying her) – just not have to be a sheep. And what can one say about Idina Menzel? The woman’s brilliant. Glinda kinda reminds me a bit of Cher in Clueless, albeit slightly more likely to get caught up in her own popularity.
And the whole thing has that Greek tragedy inevitable ending thing going for it, that you can just see coming (well, obviously), and it’s so sad, particularly when it’s all gone totally pear-shaped, and Elphaba’s wondering whether she’s was trying to do good or just get attention, and whether that’s all good deeds are. Her bitterness at being caught up in the Wizard’s PR machine is so understandable, and he and Madame Morrible are so despicable, that you’re almost rooting for her to leave Dorothy in a little dungeon (loved it when Glinda told her to get over the shoe thing!). Also loved her first proper cackle, after the house lands on Nessarose. And, oh, when she does the spell on Fiyaro to stop him being hurt… the angst!
The music is also fab (I love Defying Gravity (And if you can’t find me/Look to the western sky/As someone told me lately/Everyone deserves a chance to fly/And if I’m flying solo/At least I’m flying free… And nobody in all of Oz/No wizard that there is or was/Is ever going to bring me down) and No Good Deed (No good deed goes unpunished/No act of charity goes unresented/No good deed goes unpunished/That’s my new creed… One question haunts and hurts/Too much, too much to mention/Was I really seeking good or just seeking attention/Is that all good deeds are/When looked at with an ice-cold eye… So be it then/Let all Oz be agreed/I’m wicked through and through/Since I could not succeed, Fiyaro, saving you/I promise no good deed will I attempt to do again…)) and it has now been downloaded and listened to many, many times.
And Katie and I plan to catch the 05.21 train next month to try and get tickets. Says it all, really.