Monday, 6 September 2010

Emily's Wicked Experience

The first time I went to see Wicked was back in May this year. I had been meaning to see it for months, years even since it came to London, but I simply never got round to it, so a friend and I threw our laziness aside and booked tickets. I must admit I had not looked up the cast yet, but when I did just before the day I went, I realised that Rachel was in it, who I suddenly realised I had supported adamantly when she was in I’d Do Anything! So that was a bonus J (I know this makes me sound like I am not a true Rachel fan, so please forgive me when I say I am a newly discovered fan since May!)

On the night we went, Sarah Earnshaw was standing in as Glinda, and who I must say was actually very good, though I obviously had nothing to compare her to. But oh my goodness, did Rachel blow me away. For me the key moment was her first solo, Wizard and I, and I had never been so captivated by a voice in my life. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck, I was amazed. She was of course brilliant for the rest of the performance, and I feel in love with her performance as Elphaba immediately! I bought the soundtrack, saw her live performance in London at West end Live (though missed out on Pride), became a devoted follower of your blog and ultimately wish I could have her voice!

Last night I went to see it for the second time, and convinced 7 other friends to go too. We were sitting on J in the Stalls, but near the right hand side, which was a shame as we missed out on the yellow brick road joke and couldn’t quite see Rachel and Lee in the last scene standing at the back when he puts her hat on her, but never mind, we got 85% good view. I could hardly contain my excitement, not just to see Rachel, but also to see the show again. I emphasised to my friends (none of whom had seen it) that it was the singing that would blow them away more than anything, and pointed out that my favourite song was Wizard and I near the start J The start, however, was quite amusing! The orchestra belted out the start of the first song, with the Ozians all jumping around the stage declaring ‘The Witch is Dead’ etc, when a stage hand with a headset came on and ushered all the cast off! The safety curtain came down, and the audience, quite bemused, mock – applauded, with numerous comments of ‘well that was brilliant, can’t wait to see the second half’ etc. The announcer assured us they would fix a slight technical hitch and be on the way again shortly. (My guess was Glinda’s bubble wasn’t working right, and had amusing images of her having to walk on stage saying ‘imagine I am in a bubble!’.) Anyway they fixed it and it all started up again, though amusingly the Ozians couldn’t throw the confetti and party poppers as they had already used them up.

I hate to say it, but at first Rachel seemed a little flat. Not in her singing, it was note perfect, but she did look tired, though I can imagine having to perform and belt out these songs every day must take it out of you. When she got to Wizard and I though, I was so glad to see she had even more of an effect on me that last time, hairs on the neck, shivers down the spine and everything, I couldn’t help but grin and whoop with appreciation at the end. My friends were all flabbergasted, I have never seen them so speechless. She was fantastic throughout the rest of it, I was so impressed. I really enjoyed ‘Popular’ this time round, I think it was because I was nearer to the front, I could really see the little looks and ‘dramatic pauses’ up close between Rachel and Louise. (they had the audience in stiches!) Louise was brilliant in that scene J Defying Gravity had everyone on their feet at the end, before the performance had even finished, the best reaction anyone could have hoped for.

The second half was also great, I loved all the little ‘bitchiness’ between Elphaba and Glinda, though one of the highlights had to be Lee arriving on stage via ‘Tarzan rope’ to a prolonged applause and girly whistling from the audience, which even got Rachel grinning slightly J I even got a lump in my throat at the end when they sang the finale, and Lee and Rachel walk off the back - brilliantly acted. At the end during the curtain call we even got Louise and Rachel out of character as they asked everyone to dig deep in their pockets as they were raising money for charity this week.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the stage door as I wanted to as I needed to get the train home and the boyfriend was tired, but I am adamant that I am going to see Wicked again as much as I can before the new cast change. The entire cast was brilliant last night, and I loved seeing the new reactions of my friends who hadn’t seen it. They were so impressed with both Rachel and Louise’s singing, and loved the references to the Wizard of Oz. Although it is only my second time of seeing the show, I am most truly a Rachel fan now, and I am really worrying about what I will do once Rachel stops performing in Wicked. She is so brilliant and perfect in the role, I just wish they would record it for DVD or something so I can see it as often as I liked, though it would never be the same as seeing her live!


Dan said...

i really believe that they should do a cast recording... i told this to an usher who agreed!!
thanks for this i enjoyed reading it! :D

Andy said...

Great review Emily, thanks for sharing.

I'd also love to see a UK cast recording of the show. I believe it was discussed 2 or 3 years ago but the idea was scrapped. I really don't know why because I'm sure it would sell very well.

Other shows like 'Legally Blonde' have a UK cast recording so why not 'Wicked'?

Emma said...

I would pay ANYTHING for a cast recording with this cast, I saw it years ago with Kerry Ellis (I forget who else)and I truly believe Rachel knocks socks off of her in every way. I am a Kerry fan and think she has an amazing voice but she is no actress, Rachel has it all. Thanks Emily, a fantastic review, really enjoyed it and agree with every word. A performance has never effected me quite as much as Rachel's has.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about full cast popularity ratings, if it were down to the fans of the show, I would reckon they'd want it to be the 2008-2009 cast.. Kerry, Dianne, Oliver etc. :/

Anonymous said...

I was at the same show, with the bubble entrance glitch/re-start. It was my first time seeing Wicked, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I had bought a cheap seat in the nosebleed section, but I was blown away by the music, and more specifically, Rachel's singing. It was so amazing, I went to get tickets again for the next night. I lucked out and got a seat in the second row for that performance, and it was even better than the night before. Unfortunately, I left London the next day, or I may have gone again the next night.

I REALLY wish they'd do a recording with Rachel! I bought some songs on iTunes today, with the original cast and it does not even come close to what I experienced in London. If there's a petition to sign somewhere, let us know, so we can support the cause.

Dan said...

maybe we need to start a petition?

Anonymous said...

there's been a few petitions (even with more popular casts) but to no avail