Wicked is a West-End performance about what happened in Oz before Dorothy arrived, and gives the back-story of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. I went to see it in London at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
The performance starts off with Glinda the Good telling the Munchkins that Elphaba is dead (linking this story to that of the Wizard of Oz). They all celebrate and then one asks if it was true that Glinda and Elphaba used to be friends. Then she goes on to tell them the story about how her and Elphaba met, and all that happened after.
This performance had many forms of art involved. I feel like the main art forms were the acting, singing and dancing, as that’s what made it a musical, but there were also lots of other important forms visible such as the music, the stage and set design, the props, the costumes and the amazing lighting. All of this came together to create a brilliant show.
I have been to some theatre performances, ballets and pantomimes before, but not a musical. A couple months ago I went to see a circus as part of Brighton festival. In a way it was similar to the circus with the dancing and lighting creating a visual display, but it was also very different as the circus was more about presenting amazing tricks, whereas Wicked was more about telling a story through song and dance.
Before watching it I didn’t expect there to be such good lighting, which seemed a real part of setting the scenes and creating the right mood. For example, they created patterns on the stage of cobbled roads for the Emerald City and the Yellow Brick Road, all with lights. Also there was a big dragon above the stage that lit up and roared when needed, which I thought was very interesting to see.
I think that the staging was really good in this show. I really liked how using stage effects they showed Glinda travelling in a bubble. Elphaba was also shown flying on a broomstick high in the air, using lighting and fabric to create the effect.
I loved the story-line of Wicked: it shows how different stories can be from someone else’s perspective, and how what is portrayed to the public isn’t always the whole story, or even the truth of what has really happened.
I really liked the costumes and found them really detailed e.g. Elphaba’s dress, Madame Morrible’s outfit and Glinda’s dresses. They all added something to the characterisation, and to the characters’ development through the show.
I really did enjoy the performance, however if I had to improve something, I would say the sound could have been a bit clearer. Sometimes in the songs you couldn’t quite hear everything that was being said as the backing music was very loud.
By watching this musical I’ve learnt how important every part of a performance is- acting, singing, lighting, sound, costume, props and stage effects, dancers and dance choreography- in creating an amazing show. In addition, the story has a good message. It reminds us firstly of the importance of not judging people for being different. Secondly, it explores the themes of truth and perception, as summed up by the wizard’s quote:
“The truth isn't a thing of fact, or reason. It's simply what everyone agrees on.”
These themes are so relevant for all of us today, so it was interesting to see these highlighted in this performance. Overall, it was a great show that I would thoroughly recommend.