Ever since I moved to London, I knew I HAD to see a musical. And after I read Gregory Maguire’s work, I knew it had to be Wicked. Not that the two are terribly alike, but the book was intriguing enough for me to aspire to see the musical some day and that day was the day before yesterday.
A friend from long ago had come along to visit, and we decided it was time we did something Wicked; so we legged it to the Apollo in Victoria (separately). True to form, I was late in arriving half an hour early as we had earlier decided; but in time to rally up the end of the queue at the theatre.
The oohs and the aahs began as soon as we entered; the stage set up set the mood in place. As soon as the curtain went up a spell was cast and for the next 3 hours, it was sheer magic. The production, the music, the performance: phew, it’s been three days and I am still dreaming of it, singing and dancing it, waiting for the time I could see it again.
We were sixth row from the stage, a bit too much to the right I had thought. But I need not have bothered for the producers were kind enough to move the action right to the front of the stage, clear enough for all to view without some having to crane their necks. And the drama unfolded under the terrible gaze of the clock of the time dragon that became animated every time, well, the time changed!
The scene opened with the good witch Glinda resplendent in white sitting inside a bubble, announcing the death of the Wicked witch of the West, the villagers rejoiced till one asked the white-robed socceress if she and the wicked witch were friends, and so the reminiscing began.
Like I mentioned in the beginning the book and the play are not very alike but the theme is more or less the same. Of course the book is much darker and at times bleak. (I have a confession to make at this juncture. I never did finish reading it because I did not want it to end. Yes, I am weird like that); the musical on the other hand is pure entertainment, which is not to say it is all happy and sunny. It tells you what being misunderstood means; how people will believe what they want to believe and that being different is not easy; how popularity can hide wretchedness and leaves you wondering who truly is wicked.
It was a production that would put any hindi masala movie to shame. There was drama, romance, naach-gaana galore. The music: breathtaking; the singing: PHENOMINAL. As for the performance, I can’t rave enough. Everyone, from the chorus to the lead performers, everyone was perfect. I usually pinpoint a favourite in any story but the performance of the two leading ladies was so tremendous that my love for one over took the other’s depending on who was on stage. And the times when they both shared the limelight.. what’s the word for it? Oh yeah: Magical!
Having heard people talk about live theatre performances and being friends with a couple of performers, I have always wondered if claims of euphoria a performance induces is a tad exaggerated, but one viewing down, I tell you, I am not surprised they are so passionate about their art; it is PRETTY addictive.
To borrow a fellow Wicked aficionado’s line, “ Post Wicked, my life has changed”. I think for me the turning point came when I heard and saw Defying gravity.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!
It's time to try
I think I'll try
And you can't pull me down!
My eyes nearly went pop when I saw the green lady in black levitate as the music reached a crescendo and she sang her way up defying gravity. You had to be there to experience the heady feeling. It was unbelievable, if you don’t believe in magic, that is. If you do then you will know what I mean when you see what I saw!
It inspired me so that I am now actually wondering if I should join the arts. Husband reminds me that probably not a wise choice; he says (and I agree with a heavy heart) I won’t even make it off-off-off broadway with me way off off off singing voice.
But I can live vicariously now can’t I!
“And no one can pull me down”