Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas is.... #14 Wicked

What can I say?
I didn't actually think it was going to happen.
You know, when someone makes such a lovely gesture, but it just seems too good to be true.
So, you don't book train tickets because you don't think it's going to happen, you only have a save the date email after all.
And then you get a confirmation email, and it's real, it's going to happen!
And of course, in my pessimistic state (nothing this good could actually happen) it wasn't going to.
I had a stress getting everything tied off at work. I left the house 5 minutes later than intended. I stressed every second of the drive into Cardiff. I tried to get into spaces too small for my car. I ran to the platform. And yes, all I could do was laugh:
Cancelled train

So, I sat patiently. And then they announced the next train was cancelled. And I tried to maintain a sense of calm. And my calmness paid off as suddenly the train was no longer cancelled, just delayed, and on a different platform.
Safely on the train I allowed myself to breathe, to believe it was going to happen!

What am I talking about?
Well, I guess it has to be the "money can't buy present". The lovely +Boo Roo and Tigger Too got in touch to see just how excited I'd be to see Wicked.
So, after I climbed down from the ceiling I could only say 'Yes'. At which point it was gently broken to me that it was a media night and this would be a very special night indeed.

And so, I made my way across to Victoria, and found my way to theatre. I quickly caught onto the fact this was a celeb spotting night- from Melanie Masson of X-Factor fame, Olympian Helen Glover, Bradley James from Merlin, Tyger Drew-Honey from Outnumbered.... And then into the theatre itself where we spied Gok Wan and ActionAid Ambassador, Samantha Womack.
L-R Kristina Rihanoff (SCD), Robin Windsor (SCD), Bradley James (Merlin), Melanie Masson (X-Factor), Gok Wan

For a better idea of who was there check out this clip (and vote if you want!)

And, if that wasn't a big enough wow factor, this was our view of the stage:

Both Sarah and I were giddy with excitement, and we weren't disappointed.
From the moment the performance began I was enchanted.
As is said best in the programme it was "arresting strangeness", it was a fairytale at its best.
It took you back to all your childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz and made them full.
From the pressures of family and peers, to courage and conviction, and friendship and loyalty, the story of Wicked entices the audience in.
It then creates the awesome factor with its amazing sets- "the brilliance and allure of the Emerald City", the sensational costumes (especially in the second half), and the fantastic effects created for imagery and illusion.

The script was clever, funny, engaging and succeeded in binding everything and everyone together.
I loved Louise Dearman as Elphaba. I think everyone in the audience lost a little bit of their heart to her. The power, the innocence, the courage and fight brought out was such a convincing combination; and then, the voice.... words seems meaningless.
Alongside Gina Beck as Glinda and Ben Freeman as Fiyero you could only be on the side of good.

I suddenly understood the reviews of the soundtrack, that you want the version with the cast you saw performing, the cast have an unbelievable ability to own the performance, and as I typed this on the way home listening to "For Good" there was no comparison, I could only hear the version I was witness to.

Words cannot describe the wonderful characters that take you through the story of Wicked, I sat wishing my daughter could meet the lovely (yet a little scary) monkeys, that in ooooh, about five years time I would love to take all three little people as I imagine the mechanical dragon will leave them completely in awe of the amazing things theatre achieves.

I cannot believe that none of the giddiness and excitement which led to me sitting in the theatre was wasted, I actually walked out more giddy than I walked in, because it was amazing, it was everything that your heart wanted it to be and it is a fantastic theatre production on top.

I could only recommend this, to anyone over 7 who wants a first West End experience, to anyone who wants to rediscover the theatre, and for anyone who just wants an enjoyable night out in London- prepare to have your expectations blown away!
Wicked @ Victoria, London

Disclosure- I received a ticket for Wicked's media evening on which this review is based. The review was not a condition of the ticket, all views are my own based on which a fantastic experience.

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