Friday, 25 June 2010

Andy's Not Quite Wicked Review

A Wicked review...of 'The 39 Steps'

As previously mentioned I last went to Wicked on Rachel’s Birthday. It was an amazing show and Rachel was phenomenal as always but I didn’t get chance to meet her at the stage door because she understandably had plans that night and couldn’t afford to be held up.

My Glinda Curse had also struck again, making it only 3 times out of my 9 visits I’d seen the lead Glinda.

Having not met Rachel at the stage door I was a little concerned that the curse may be spreading and that it was starting to affect Elphaba too. I now have more reasons to fear that may be the case.

I had another visit to London planed for the tennis at Wimbledon so I decided to incorporate another trip to Wicked and hoped I’d have more luck at the stage door this time around.

I’d booked 2 nights – Sunday 20th and Monday 21st - in a Travelodge this time so I could at least have a few extra hours in bed. I got up at about 6:15am, jumped on a bus at 7:45am and was in the queue for a day ticket by about 9:00am. London traffic at that time in the morning was not pleasant even on the bus.

Worryingly there were about 15 people in front of me and with 2 available per person I knew it would be touch and go.

As always I got chatting to other fans and as per usual they had nothing but praise for Rachel and the show. A couple had been to West End live and said there was no doubt Rachel was the highlight of the day. Having seen the video of her 'Wizard and I' performance about 1000 times, I didn't find that surprising.

At 10:00am the doors opened but a man came out and explained their computers were down and he couldn’t be sure when they’d be able to begin sales. He came back out about 30 minutes later and said the computers were still down but they could take bookings for the front row only, as long as you could pay by cash.

I managed to get the very last seat available. They scribbled A18 on a blank Wicked card and said I’d be able to exchange it for a ticket before the show, by which time they were sure their computers would be up and running.

As I was walking out I looked at the cast board left up from Saturdays show. I was pleased to see Rachel had performed after her illness last week and wasn’t at all surprised to see that Sarah Earnshaw had played Glinda. It looked like my Glinda curse might have struck again.

I then caught a bus to Wimbledon to watch a bit of tennis but left early to arrive back at the Appollo Victoria for 7:00pm. That is when my worst fears were realised. They’d updated the cast board for Monday’s show and Louise was back to play her role as the good witch but to my horror the sign now read that in tonight’s performance of Wicked Elphaba will be played by Nikki Davis Jones.

So my Glinda curse may be over but it's been replaced by a much more serious condition; the curse of Elphaba. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Wicked without Rachel is just not.........Wicked!

At that point I decided I’d sell my ticket. So I stood outside the theatre asking anyone if they’d like one of the best seats in the house for £25. That is until the general manager came out and threatened to get me arrested of course. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do then until a guy who’d already turned down my ticket offer came back out and said he’d like to buy it. I discretely exchanged ticket for cash and headed off to catch my bus back to the Travelodge.

As I was walking along I realised I had just enough time to get to the Criterion in Piccadilly Circus to catch the evening performance of the 39 Steps which started at 8:00pm. My other favourite West End leading lady Dianne Pilkington - who used to be Glinda in Wicked - was now in this play and I hadn’t had chance to see it yet.

I got there just in time, got a great seat for £12.50 – that’s right, £12.50 – and really enjoyed the play. There were some real laugh out loud moments and Dianne was sensational. She plays numerous characters and you could certainly see Glinda in some of them. There was even a scene where she was able to sneak in a toss, toss; well sort of. There will never be a better Glinda than Dianne and she will always be Glinda to me but she proved what incredibly talented actress she is because she is equally as amazing in 'The 39 Steps' and the 2 shows really are chalk and cheese.

After the show I went to the stage door and got chance to meet this very special lady for the first time. Just like Rachel, she was so lovely and spent some time chatting with me, signing my Wicked programme and posing for the above photo. My 2 favourite leading ladies are not only superb on stage but they are also 2 of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.

She said she still misses Wicked and I told her how much I would have loved to see her work alongside Rachel. She said she loves Rachel and agreed they would have made a great team. I think the word she used to describe Rachel was ‘Fierce’ but I know she meant it in a good way lol.

In the end my day worked out fine but I am now a little concerned about the new curse. For various reasons I haven't actually met Rachel now since Scaramouche night back in November 2008. However, I won’t give up and intend to try again later this summer.


David said...

Andy your West End adventures are truly amazing, if not perhaps a little stressful! Not sure which was the most amazing -- getting to meet Dianne or almost getting 10 years to life for attempting to sell a piece of paper on the street. Don't start me on that one... Don't worry you WILL get to meet Rachel again eventually! BTW some friends of mine from Belfast went to the Saturday night showing (first time ever to see Wicked) and were completely blown away by 'that green girl.'

Dan said...

Wow great review Andy,
glad there was a bright side!!

I have an Elphie curse... I saw it 3 times (twice in Australia) where I saw the understudies.
Luckily I got to see Rachel in May, but then Glinda and Boc were off.

I'm going again in August, so I hope I get to see ALL the main leads for ONCE! lol

Can't wait for next Saturday... it's possible I might be able to go backstage, if I do I'll try to get a video message for this site... so everyone keep their fingers crossed for me ok?