Thursday, 2 September 2010

Andy's Wicked Review & The End Of The Curse



Before I start my review I just want to thank Rachel for taking the time to chat with me at the stage door; it was certainly one of the highlights of my year. Thanks also for getting back to David to confirm you expect to be at the stage door on both Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September. David sent me your response but I think you may have mistook Dan’s review for mine as his is situated under my ‘Holiday Update – Review to Follow’ post. Every now and then one of our readers will send us their review of the show and ask us to add it to the blog. I can safely say you have never been anything but perfect when I’ve been there. I always try and sit near the front of the stalls so I’ve certainly never found you or anyone else in the cast to be too quiet. They'll never be a better Elphaba than you Rachel because with you in the show there really is magic on the stage. Wicked will never be quite the same when you hang up your broomstick for the last time.


Right, now on with the review.

My break in London actually started on the Sunday. I had booked 2 nights – Sunday & Monday – at the Battersea Travelodge, which I often use when going to see Wicked because the 44 bus takes me straight to the theatre in about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately when I arrived I was informed that they had over booked and that they’d have to try and find me alternative accommodation. I wasn’t best pleased I can tell you. I stood in reception for over an hour while they phoned around before he eventually said they had a room at Kew Bridge; 9 miles away, so not exactly convenient for the Appollo Victoria. After much negotiation it was decided that I’d spend the Sunday night at Kew but return to Battersea on the Monday, which at least meant I’d be able to catch the 44 bus. It was also agreed that I’d get a full refund and a complimentary breakfast, so in the end it didn’t work out too bad.

As you know, the last time I went to the show the first thing I saw when entering the theatre was the little notice saying Elphaba would be played by Nikki Davis-Jones, so the nerves were kicking in as I approached the entrance. Thankfully on this occasion the only cast change listed was Doctor Dillamond. I walked to the bar to get a drink before returning to the entrance to check the notice one last time; you can never be too sure. It’s like locking your house, you know you’ve done it but you always go back to double check. Needless to say it hadn’t changed, so I breathed a sigh of relief and made my way to my seat in Row C of the stalls.

As I was sat waiting for the show to begin I just happened to notice a guy a few seats down flicking through his programme. He appeared to pull a page out but when he turned it round I could see it was a picture of Nikki Davis-Jones; I couldn’t read the writing underneath. I knew from past experiences that they often slip details of any understudy’s that are appearing in that show into the programme, so the nerves kicked back in and I began to wonder whether they’d just forgot to update the cast changes notice on the theatre door.

I couldn’t really enjoy the opening scene as Louise came down on her bubble and kicked off the show with ‘No One Mourns The Wicked’ because I’d now convinced myself Rachel was off and that my Elphaba curse had returned. Thankfully I needn’t have worried as it wasn’t long before she burst onto the stage looking stunning in her Shiz uniform, glasses, woolly hat and of course, bright green skin. Not many people can carry that look off you know but Rachel’s a natural beauty and would still look like a princess in a bin liner.

I’m not sure what I can say about Wicked that hasn’t already been said because it’s always amazing and Rachel always steals the show with her incredible vocals and sensational acting. She brought the house down with her 3 show-stoppers - ‘The Wizard and I’, ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘No Good Deed’. I used to think the previous Elphaba – Alexia - performed these well but she doesn’t even come close to Rachel. Some of the notes Rachel can hit simply don’t exist and her riffs are just breathtaking. She was equally as impressive performing the emotional songs ‘I’m Not That Girl’, ‘As Long As Your Mine’ and ‘For Good’. These are all duets but I find I’m transfixed by Rachel’s talent when she’s on stage and hardly even notice Lee and Louise in these numbers. I haven’t even mentioned ‘Loathing’ which is one of my favourites and really showcases Rachel’s comic acting. Elphaba goes through so many different emotions during the show and Rachel portrays each one perfectly.

Check out our video posts of West End Live and London Pride to get a taster of what you’re missing if you haven’t seen this mind blowing show.

Being a fan of Dianne Pilkington who used to play Glinda it was always going to be more difficult for Louise to win me over but I have to admit she has improved out of sight since the opening show back in March. Her vocals have always been great but she is now also bringing out the comic side of Glinda which I thought was somewhat lacking when I first saw her in the role. No-one will ever quite match Dianne – unless Rachel decides to don a blonde wig of course - but I am pleased to say Louise makes an excellent replacement. Her ‘Popular’ had me in stitches, although I think it was when Rachel tried to replicate the Toss Toss and fell off the bed that the audience really exploded into laughter.

As always the show ended to a massive ovation from a full house crowd and everyone simultaneously stood up when Rachel and Louise came back out to take their bow.

It was then time to make my way to the stage door. There were probably somewhere between 20 and 30 people already there so I joined them and stood with my toes and fingers crossed hoping Rachel would come out. I knew she had to de-greenify so guessed she’d probably be last and therefore used this time to try and think of things I wanted to say to her. 45 Minutes passed and Cast members came and went but just as I was beginning to wonder whether I was out of luck again Rachel came out the stage door.

She looked absolutely breath-taking, and I mean that literally; I was really struggling to catch my breath. I was already very nervous about meeting her again, partly because it’s nearly 2 years since I last met her in person and partly because it was the first time on my own. I think her beauty only added to my nerves. As she made her way down the line of fans I had a complete brain freeze and everything I thought I might ask her went out my head.

I don’t really know why I get so nervous because Rachel really couldn’t be nicer. She seemed genuinely delighted to see me – which made my day, probably my year – and I even got a hug; which I stumbled into on very shaky legs. I was desperately trying to think of the things I wanted to say but I think all I managed to get across was how amazing I think she is. Thankfully I did mention I was planning on going back to see her and the show again on the 20th September because she was able to inform me that she had changed her holiday dates and was now away that week. I’m now hoping to go on either Friday 17th or Saturday 18th September.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered I had a fantastic time. It seems my Elphaba curse is over and I’m already counting the days – minutes – until my next visit.


Dan said...

WHAT WHAT WHAT!?! what did she say about my review?!

Dan said...

I never found her too quiet, but a couple people said they found her to be quiet during the 2 slow songs.

I assume they mean because she's not using her belt voice, but in my opinion that's a good thing as it shows the different colours and textures of her voice.

I'm worried now that Rachel thinks that came from me :(

Andy said...

Don't panic Dan, she just said that no two nights are ever the same and that it can make a difference depending where you're sat in the theatre.

I think because I ended my holiday update post by saying review to follow, she just schrolled down, saw your review, didn't notice the heading and thought it was mine.

If you want we can edit your review. If you send me any changes you'd like to make to clarify what you mean I'm happy to edit it for you.

As I mentioned in my review I'll be seeing her again in a couple of weeks anyway so I'll make sure she knows how great you think she is and that you disagree with those people who said she was a little quiet during the 2 slow songs.

Dan said...

yeh that would be great if you wouldn't mind letting her know that!

Andy said...

No problem Dan.