The musical, Wicked, was a very entertaining show. The story is based from the Wizard of Oz but with a twist. Wicked tells the tail of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of OZ, but the whole musical is through her eyes. She originally wanted to help individuals and show that the Wizard was not as wonderful as claimed but all of her actions were taken badly and she was called wicked. It is a very interesting debate on what is good and evil as she and Glinda the good witch were friends at school.
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Possibly the part I most enjoyed was the fact that the musical made Glinda out to be a ditzy, dumb blond who was only concerned with her looks and popularity. Glinda managed to ignore the most important things occurring around her in order to maintain her perfect life. It was not until the end of the show that she truly began to show some wisdom. The Wizards character was also quite amusing, particularly with the song sung about how actions can be looked at in both a good and bad way. It was fun to discover a little bit of back story about how the tin man and lion came to be. As Elphaba, the wicked witch, tried to save Fiyero from feeling pain and this turned him into the tin man.
The costumes and sets were a feast for the eyes. Vibrant colours were used, especially the bright green of the witches skin. Glinda’s costumes were done in pinks and pastels with a lot of glitter and sparkles. The design of the costumes and sets were done in such a way that you were in these magical, but make believe places, very much keeping in tradition to the design of the original Wizard of Oz movie. There were some excellent effects done with Elphaba suspended mid air as if flying and Glinda entering the stage on a moon. A lot of smoke was frequently used to set the stage and there was the traditional disappearing act done by Elphaba which one can assume used a trap door in the stage floor.
The music was very catchy with many ballads and the singers were quite good. The role of the witch is quite a difficult singing role and the actress was able to handle the singing well. Though the music was entertaining it was also a bit disappointing as it was not very difficult music. There were not a lot of harmonies or intricate singing and much of the music a normal person could pick up just by listening to it enough. The score is nothing on par to the difficulties of Sweeney Todd or the Phantom of the Opera. It would have been nice to here some intricate harmonies and counter melodies, as most of the group singing was done as one or in something that resembled a round (think row, row, row your boat.)
The staging was quite effective and the use of the set was well done so that no matter where you were sitting you wouldn’t have a problem seeing the action, which if sometimes only occurs on one portion of the stage some of the audience will miss. The set was not extensive, with pieces brought in to supplement the backdrop but everything was carefully chosen to help convey a change in scenery with minimum props. Much of the time the change in costume was also a big help in determining what scene they were in as the school, Schiz, everyone was in school uniform.
I would recommend this show for any age, except for little children. Much of the jokes are for adults but teenagers would understand and enjoy as well. The songs and colourful costumes and sets are entertaining for children and most of the songs are hummable. If you are looking to enjoy a nice evening out at the theatre then Wicked is a great choice. Despite the story you can even come away with some important messages about the perception of individuals actions and how those with good intentions are not always looked upon as good and how an individual can skew the meaning of what is good or not (in this case the Wizard).
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