Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wicked London: 3/13/15 e, REVIEW!

On Friday, March 13, 2015 I got the amazing opportunity to see Wicked in the West End.  I have been a fan of the show since before the London production opened, and finally getting to see it over there was so exciting and I am so glad I had the chance.

First of all, I love the Apollo Victoria Theatre, it's gorgeous and enormous.  Second, there were not HUGE differences between the American and British productions, but there were several small differences. 
1. "Our paths did cross, at school as students!
2. "I've applied to your sorcery seminar tutorial.
3.  "She doesn't give a twig tail what anyone else thinks"
4. "He means no disrespectation, please understand, we all went to school uni together."

There are a few more that I will add when I find the sheet I wrote them down on.

Right off the bat, the accents seemed totally natural.  Hearing Glinda with a British accent didn't faze me at all for some reason, nor did the ensemble.  But for some reason, hearing 'The Wizard and I' sung in a British accent sounded so strange.  Not in a bad way.  It was very cool, just different.  Madame Morrible always talks in an accent, and hearing Martyn Ellis talk in an American accent was very interesting, he did a fairly nice job with it.

Russell Walker was on for Dr. Dillamond, and he did a fine job, though Dillamond never has too much for me to report on.  I liked him though, and his relationship with Elphaba was extremely believable.  Sam Lupton was awesome as Boq.  He has a much deeper voice than a lot of Boqs I have seen, and he has a really beautiful voice.  I really thought he looked awesome for the part as well.  He's very handsome and charming, and he had a little moment with Galinda in the DOS scene where he said "That's so unfair, you should say something!" and then she looked at him and he did this little wave and I loved it.  Katie Rowley Jones was a fantastic Nessarose, and though she wasn't mindblowing like Carla Stickler or Deedee Magno Hall, she was quite good.  I think had her voice been showcased more I would have loved her even more.  She was perfectly bitchy in act two and I loved seeing her just let loose and act freely, and Emma countered her perfectly.  I think she'd make a fantastic Elphaba.  

Liza Sadovy as Madame Morrible was quite good. Morrible as a character has been completely spoiled for me by Alison Fraser, but Liza actually did some of the same awesome stuff that Alison did, but in her own way.  I quite liked her singing voice in Thank Goodness, and I wish she had sung her part in The Wizard and I.  She gave Elphaba that same menacing and jealous look over her shoulder as she went off to the Emerald City, and I noticed that her "siezed" dress was a different color than usual, slightly darker green, which I actually preferred.  I also loved when the Wizard told her "that's a harsh word!" she backed off and looked very hurt and apologetic.  I thought that was kind of cool because it showed the distribution and power and the haste to cover it up.  Her final scene with Glinda was also awesome, and she did the same little laughs and such that Alison Fraser did when Glinda was imitating her earlier speech.  

Martyn Ellis was the loudest Wizard I have ever seen play the role.  His voice was booming, but very
good.  He was a great Wizard, very emotional at the end, and he was wonderfully menacing and fake during act 1.  I loved his scene with Elphaba during Wonderful.  It was charming and genuine, and when he realized he was Elphaba's father, he was completely broken.  I loved it.

Jeremy Taylor was a wonderful Fiyero.  He was motivatingly bored, or in other words, a very strong actor and made Fiyero extremely likable and charming.  I loved his voice and his accent was so great.  He didn't do any special riffs or embellishments in Dancing Through Life, but he did sing it very solidly, and I absolutely loved him in Thank Goodness and As Long As You're Mine.  He was also really endearing at the end with Elphaba, and I totally believed every moment of their chemistry, it 

Sophie Linder Lee as Glinda was absolutely awesome as well.  She is only the second Glinda cover I have seen in a decade, and 23 shows, and she did not disappoint.  I was happy that she was on, even though I would have loved to see Savannah.  Her NOMTW was regal and commanding, she has a beautiful voice.  She didn't get as many laughs as she should have, but that was by no fault of hers.  She continued the charm into DOS and the scene following.  I loved her in WITF too.  She did the same usual little bouncy stuff all over the place that a lot of Glindas do.  Her dance with Emma was so touching, I loved how awkward and uncoordinated it was, and that led right into a very funny and wonderful Popular.  She did the closest thing I have seen to Megan Hilty's giant BAAALLLLGOOOOWN! since actually seeing Megan Hilty nine years ago.  I loved seeing that done again.  The rest of her act one was great, but act two is where she really shone.  Thank Goodness was conflicted and falsely self-assured and I loved watching her facial expressions as she struggled to accept what was happening around her.  I also loved INTG reprise as well, very vulnerable and beautiful.  I also loved that she did not go for laughs when she said "It seems a lot of us are taking things that don't belong to us aren't we?" She went for a heartbroken struggling-to-get-the-words-out approach.  I loved that a lot.  For Good was beautifully sung, the best I have heard in a while, and her finale was heartbreaking.  Her faces were hauntingly beautiful.  

Emma Hatton was SO GREAT as Elphaba.  It was immediately throwing to hear her singing in a British accent, but her "Wiz and I" gave me goosebumps all over my body, and that does not always happen.  I loved her delivery of the line 'blonde' in What Is This Feeling, and I also just adored her sassy and defiant manner in that song.  I actually really enjoyed her scene with Dr. Dillamond.  It was very well acted, and she showed so much compassion.  I also loved her reaction to getting the hat from Galinda, it was sweet and endearing.  I'm Not That Girl was also beautifully sung and acted, as was OSD.  The Wizard's scene and Defying Gravity were incredible on her part.  She was so dramatically brilliant in both.  Her acting was spot on in the Wizard's chamber and she NAILED every single aspect of Defying Gravity, including throwing the broom up on the high F and nailing the bring me downs.  She got huge applause and huge cheers afterwards, which didn't happen much at any of the West End shows I saw, British culture is much more reserved.  Her scene with Nessarose was awesome and wonderfully acted, very dramatic and final, and then the remorse that came in the catfight scene was so distressing and heartbreaking, and that No Good Deed.  She held NOTHING back.  I got goosebumps on just the first "Fiyerooo!"  She absolutely nailed every aspect of that song. And of course For Good/ Finale were beautiful.  I just love those final moments of the show, they're haunting.

The London orchestra and ensemble were on FIRE, it's easily the best orchestra the show has anywhere that I have seen it, and the ensemble does a very nice job.  I loved listening to their harmonies and adlibs.  I was very impressed by their facial expressions and such as well.  All of them were 100% in it the entire show.

Some Stage Door pictures:

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