Friday, 9 May 2014

Wicked

Hello Everyone,

Original Stuttgart Cast
Photo by Brinkhoff/Mogenburg

Sorry for my absence from here, I have been so swamped with uni work, so unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to write anything. However, I have an hour free to quickly write about my fantastic night out in Glasgow seeing the UK and Ireland Tour of Wicked: the Musical, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.
Emily Tierney (Glinda) and Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba)
Photo by Matt Crockett

This was my third time in five years seeing this musical, so you can assume I am a fan. There couldn’t be any story surprises, although if you haven’t seen it before, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just listen carefully to everything said in the first act, it will be useful.
Emily Tierney (Glinda) and Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba)
Photo by Matt Crockett

I absolutely love the songs of Wicked, and they are so catchy! I have the Broadway recording, which is fantastic with Idina Menzel as Elphaba, and Kristen Chenowth as Glinda. They are just so perfect in these parts. Clearly the songs are not going to change every time you see the musical, but the performance standard can differ.
Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba)
Photo by Matt Crockett

Elphaba, played by Nikki Davis-Jones, was superb. She captured the sarcastic passionate misfit who became the Wicked Witch of the West. She truly convinced the audience that all she meant to do is try to do good, it just came out wrong. Her version of Defying Gravity got the biggest cheer of the night at the end of the second act. It was the best version of the song that I have seen performed. She managed to portray the depth of emotion that was needed for the part, despite the slightly rushed element of the show (not any of the actors’ faults, really down to lack of time).
Emily Tierney (Glinda)
Photo by Matt Crockett

The next witch of Oz, Glinda, had a slightly more difficult job to do, as well as the seriousness of the role, she needed to have the biggest character arc of all the characters, starting as a dim insipid girl into a strong independent witch, with a lot of comedy in there as well. In the first act, especially the opening song, I thought that Emily Tierney (who played Glinda) was little pitchy, and struggled to reach some of the notes, but this can be put down to nerves. I would just like to say that she never hit a wrong note, but her voice was perhaps straining a little to get the volume that was needed. Nevertheless her version of Popular was one that she really made her own, and was one off the highlights of the show. And by the start of the second act, she was absolutely flawless, and really came into her own; especially in For Good, which moved me to tears.
Liam Doyle (Fiyero) and Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba)
Photo by Matt Crockett

Prince Fiyero, played by Liam Doyle, was a pretty impressive guy. Handsome, and with a swagger, he certainly looked the part. His dancing in Dancing Through Life was superb, which highlighted that perhaps he had been cast mostly based on his dancing ability, as his voice, while good, was not as strong. His performance with Elphaba in As Long as You’re Mine, was therefore surprisingly good. Again, although this is no fault of his, I would have liked a little more emotional depth from the character, but there just wasn’t enough time.
Photo by Matt Crockett

The highlight of the show however, was not any of the principals, but was the ensemble. The costumes and make-up were fantastic, and they were so well rehearsed it took my breath away. They looked as if they were having the best time. The big numbers, Dancing Through Life and One Short Day just put a smile on my face. Every single one of them was individual, but they were so together. They made me wish that it was socially acceptable to break into song and dance in real life.  I am trying really hard not to use too many clich├ęs, but it is just so difficult when they were that good.
Dale Rapley (The Wizard) and Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba)
Photo by Matt Crockett

One of the problems I had with the production was that right at the end, when you see Elphaba being melted by Dorothy, one of the iconic and most important scenes, there was a technical problem. For the effect, and in order to set up an essential plot twist, a curtain was pulled across the front of the stage. Therefore, with the use of a backlight, the audience would only see the silhouette of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. However, this went wrong, and I could not see anything apart from the green flames where Elphaba was melted. Only because of my previous knowledge could I have known what had happened. However, this is a small point that marred an otherwise very enjoyable show.
The biggest cheer at the end was saved for Scotsman George Ure (Boq)
Photo by Matt Crockett


Gracexxx