Wednesday, 7 April 2010
What A Star!!!
First of all major apologies for being so late with this post, but thanks to a company who shall remain nameless (BT whoops), I've had no internet connection for the last week and I'm not amused.
But on the plus side, a big big thank you to Rosie and Andy who have been doing a fantastic job.
Needless to say opening night was nothing short of incredible. We'd seen Wicked before in November 2008, but this time round we had MUCH better seats (Row G in the stalls) and the phenomenal advantage of Rachel being the star.
As long term readers will know, I first saw Rachel on stage in a tiny Belfast theatre. It was December 2007 and she was playing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The moment she appeared on stage I realised she was a phenomenal talent and wasn't entirely sure why she was in such a humble production. Twenty seven months later, she has reached the pinnacle of West End success, exactly where she deserves to be, entirely vindicating the faith of her many fans.
A lot has already been written about opening night -- my personal highlights were, perhaps unsurprisingly, two numbers which perfectly showcased THAT voice -- 'Defying Gravity' and 'No Good Deed.' Every time I see Rachel live, her vocals blow me away. I end up with what I refer to as 'a Rachel high' -- suffice to say that opening night was no exception.
I know Rachel had expressed concern about 'Defying Gravity' -- I have to admit to feeling a wee bit nervous during this number -- in the event she was absolutely perfect -- no-one would have guessed this was her first night -- she completely nailed it.
Rachel is a wonderful Elphaba -- as well as the storming vocal performances, she portrays the character beautifully and sympathetically. Again I was drawn back to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast where Rachel's portrayal of Dorothy was almost ridiculously good -- she is an absolute natural on stage, not only word and note perfect, but with a presence that demands you watch. For whatever reason, IDA only showed a fraction of what Rachel is capable of -- performances before and since have been phenomenal and Elphaba is the ultimate Rachel -- just so so good. Sorry I'm raving aren't I.
Opening night was a kind of mixed blessing for me -- on the one hand, it merely confirmed what I knew that chilly night in Belfast -- here was an incredible talent who should have been a West End star years ago -- on the other hand, it was such a joy to witness the triumph of a talent I've believed in and championed for so long.
The moment she strode -- and I mean strode -- onto that stage, I was reminded of her IDA 'exit interview' when she spoke emotionally but calmly of her West End ambitions. We didn't doubt her then and no-one could doubt her now.
Wicked is a fantastic show -- I can fully understand why many fans return dozens of times. To have Rachel at the helm is nothing short of incredible and from the reviews I've read, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
For me, opening night was simply perfection. I want to go back and watch the chemistry between Rachel and Lee Mead's Fiyero. Can I afford it? Whatever. I'm going.
If you haven't booked to see Rachel's Elphaba yet, please make sure you do. I know one Rachel fan who missed seeing her in WWRY, but thankfully he's booked for Wicked this month. He'll absolutely love it and so will you.