Saturday, September 10, 2011

Show Review - Wicked

Last week I attended the touring production of Wicked, here in Winnipeg, with two of my bestest gal pals Rheina and Nicole. Nicole is a big fan of musicals, and it was her birthday recently, so we decided it would be something fun and different to do together.

Nicole is a fan of the show Glee and of musicals by Andrew Lloyd Weber, two things I personally find to be form of torture, but I was assured that even if I don't like musicals in general, I would enjoy this one.
First off, I love stories that take an alternative point of view, particularly from the point of the "villain" and was intrigued to see it. It also involves witches, so I'm sold there.
I was happily surprised by the various steampunk type elements in the set designs. The sets were beautiful with lots of cogs, gears, and clock elements to delight the eyes. The special effects, particularly the Wizard of Oz's mechanical talking head were also impressive.

The costumes were quite lovely, with Victorian inspiration combined with Classic Wizard of Oz looks. So I enjoyed that part to.

The story was very engaging. It follows the relationship between Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (Glinda the Good Witch of the North) from their time in college, through to the time of Dorothy in Oz. Elphaba, is the neglected daughter of a Oz politician who is charged with caring for her disabled sister. Having green skin, she is picked on and made fun of by others, but also possesses raw magical talent.
Galinda is a privileged and popular girl for whom getting what she wants has always come easily. The two are forced to room together at college, and originally are rivals, but then develop a friendship.

When Elphaba is called on by the Wizard of Oz himself, she discovers how corrupt he and the government is. Both Galinda and Elphaba are faced with choosing between standing up against this and being labelled an enemy, or becoming a puppet of the regime.
There is also a romantic element to the story, with them both being rivals for the same man.

I only have one complaint about the show. About five songs in, I looked over at Nicole who appeared to be thoroughly enjoying herself, then looked at Rheina who had a bemused expression on her face. She turned to me and said "too much singing". We both laughed, and I replied "yup". I guess that's what happens when you go to a musical.
Don't get me wrong, the performers are really talented and can belt out a tune like no one's business, but it's not my kind of music. I guess Rheina and I are just uncouth rock concert girls.

It did make me want to read the series of books this musical is based on, and it was a feast for the eyes, so I do consider this a good show. Plus Nicole was really into it. Just don't expect me to go see Phantom of the Opera anytime soon.

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  1. I'm not a fan of musicals either, but I did love Phantom for the same reasons you loved Wicked: amazing sets, costumes, and just eye candy galore! A couple of the songs in Phantom were truly beautiful, so that helped, but they also sang parts of the dialog which I thought was dumb. Overall, Wicked sounds like it was a good time!

  2. I've always wondered if Wicked was worth going to! Good review :) I can get a bit like that at musicals too. But I am OBSESSED with Phantom of the Opera. It is MAGICAL and you should DEFINITELY SEE IT if you get the chance.
    The songs are a lot less annoying 'musical' sounding, rather darker and more (obviously) opera influenced.