Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Rachel fan Naomi was lucky enough to see 'Wicked' twice in barely a month (jealous much) and was kind enough to send us her review of the show, together with stage door photos and what quite frankly is a superb drawing.
''On Monday night I was lucky enough to get to see Wicked down in London. This was my second time seeing the show - I saw it at the start of April with my best friend (also with Rachel as Elphaba!). The reason I went twice in such a short time is because later this year I am going to Thailand to teach English for a year, and wanted to spend some time with my dad before I went. I'd been going on about Wicked since I saw it in April, and my dad actually really likes live shows, so we decided to go and see it again (which I was VERY happy about!). I didn't have time to write a review after my first trip, so here is a review of Monday night's performance!
Me and my dad arrived at the theatre after a very long train journey (about 6 hours to get down from Scotland) just before 7pm. I bought a program and a Green Elixer water bottle (soon realising that it would have made much more sense to buy these things AFTER the show), then headed into the auditorium. We were in seats J24 and J25, right in the middle which was fantastic! Every detail of the set could be made out, and we could see the Time Dragon easily too.
The opening of the show was completely electric, the ensemble are just phenominal and they really put everything into it, as did Louise! I loved her as Glinda last time I saw her, and this time she was even better. Her voice was beautiful, so crisp and clear, and she looked stunning in her huge dress covered in bubbles.
Being a Rachel fan I was so excited when she came running downstage, and right from the go she was fantastic. Her "Wizard and I" was brilliant and her reactions towards the ensemble laughing at her etc. were really good, making you laugh as well as feel sorry for Elphaba. She acted through the whole song without holding anything back (as she did with every song).
Both Rachel and Louise shone through "What Is This Feeling?" with amazing chemistry - for two people who are such good friends offstage it's amazing how much they seem to loath each other during that song!
The last time I saw Wicked it was with Lewis as Fiyero, so it was great to see Lee. His "Dancing Through Life" was really good and his voice was strong even while he was dancing. I thought his stage presence was really strong and he fits into the show perfectly!
Obviously we all know what a fantastic actress Rachel is, but it really showed through during Popular. Louise was as hilarious as ever with her Galinda-ness, and because the song is centered mainly around her with Elphaba sort of "in the background" you'd think that all the attention would be on Louise, but Rachel was as much part of the number as her new best friend. She was able to constantly react towards what Galinda was saying without taking away from Galinda herself, if that makes sense! Her facial expressions were fantastic, you could hear Elphaba thinking "Oh jeez, here we go...!
Rachel's "I'm Not That Girl" was beautiful despite the fact that she either forgot a line of it or ran out of breath. It was 100% forgivable as she acted all the way through it and so it was only noticeable that she missed a line if you knew the song already. She didn't let it effect her character at all, which is the most important thing you can do if something like that happens. I love how Rachel sings this song, it brings out a really haunting quality of her voice which isn't seen in a lot of the other songs.
Throughout the Wizard scene Rachel's acting was phenominal - her passion and excitement when she's with the Wizard is so strong, and as this changes to despair and horror it is really heartbreaking. Of course this scene is building up to the big one! And of course, Rachel delivered Defying Gravity awesomely from start to finish. She growled through the "me" on her line "It's MEEEEEEEE!" which sounded fantastic and belted out those top notes flawlessly!
During the interval I heard several people saying how good the show was and how great Galinda and Elphaba was, which was really nice to hear. Sitting next to us there were two women from America, and I got chatting to them. They said that she had seen the show in Arizona (I think) and that this one was much, much better! The special effects and all the technical stuff was apparently much more striking in London, which is understandable as on tour the show probably wouldn't be able to have as many effects going off.
The second act started just as electrifying as the first, with the ensemble and Glinda performing a fantastic "Thank Goodness". Louise was brilliant in this song, you could really see her emotion and guilt while she sang. The emotional chemistry between Elphaba and Glinda is really strong even when they're not on stage together.
I've not said much abbout Cassie so far, but she was fantastic throughout the whole show. It's great to see her back on the stage after her arm injury. Her voice is just so perfect for "The Wicked Witch of the East", and George Ure was also really strong in this scene. All of the characters gel together so nicely. Elphabas spells in this scene were beautiful, and brought back the haunting quality of Rachel's voice that I mentioned earlier. It must be a nightmare to memorise all of them though!
Lee and Rachel were both great in "As Long As You're Mine" and they have really nice chemistry between them. Considering that Lee has only been in the show for a week he's really doing himself proud, and he'll continue to get better and better! You'd really think that he's been doing the show for a lot longer than he has.
Elphaba and Glinda's catfight scene was as brilliant as always, and parts of it were really hilarious. Angry Glinda is so funny!
I really don't know where to start with "No Good Deed". I've seen countless different versions of this on youtube over the past month, but I swear I have never heard anything like what Rachel did on Monday. I don't even know how to describe it, it was just absolutely phenomenal. I've always loved this song, and it was just... incredible. Her voice was fierce and strong, and you could really feel Elphaba's anger and desperation. The part when she said "Nessa... Doctor Dillamond... Fiyero..." was heartbreaking. Her "FIYERO" was beautiful, and it was totally and completely the highlight of the show for me. Her energy through the whole song was immence, and it was so WOW! I could go on forever talking about it and it wouldn't do it justice. Absolutely stunning.
The scene before "For Good" with Elphaba and Glinda was beautiful, as was the song itself. Again their chemistry shone through, and their voices fitted together beautiflly. Louise was fantastic through "For Good" and the "Finale" - her acting was just perfect, so emotional and when she went up in her bubble for the last time she looked genuinely heartbroken.
The last time I saw the show I was completely blown away, but this time it was even better. Rachel is such an amazing performer, as is Louise, and they both thoroughly deserve to be where they are!
After the show I went to the stage door to meet the cast, and got my program signed by most of them. I drew a picture of Rachel of Elphaba and gave her a copy of it which she seemed to really like which I was thrilled about. She was so lovely in person, and talked to me about my ambition to be a profssional theatre actress. It's obvious how much she appreciates all the support she gets.''