I grew up obsessed with the Wizard of Oz… literally obsessed. I would watch that movie just about every single day. My parents had taped it off the TV for me, in the late 1980’s onto a Beta tape. So along with all the songs and the plot line, I still remember all the ads that were shown during that broadcast, which gives me a somewhat unique experience. For example, I remember once Dorothy and Toto have begun their journey down the yellow brick road and they start to skip and sing ‘We’re off to see the wizard’ in my head, the screen cuts to a commercial break and I see an ad for the brand new Toyota Corolla..
So with this childhood obsession in mind, I finally got around to seeing the West End production of Wicked! It’s a musical that follows the backstory to the two witches featured in The Wizard of Oz, based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’. We see how Elphaba (who was born with green skin) and Glinda (everybody’s favourite darling) manage to form a strong friendship and how ultimately Elphaba earns the reputation of the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’.
I had some doubts going into the show, how could a show based on a tale I love so much, ever live up to the original? I had heard mixed reviews, some people absolutely love it and others detested it. I found it thoroughly entertaining! I thought the performances were outstanding, it was some of the best singing I have heard in a while, and the costumes were marvelous, especially those from the Emerald City. I did think however, there were a few too many ballads included in the soundtrack. I think if anything it has the potential to be a little bit more upbeat, but they still managed to get some good laughs in!
If you haven’t already seen it (it feels like everyone on earth had except me) I would recommend it. It’s great for a bit of an escape into the land of Oz, where you can forget your daily woes and get wrapped up in the wicked fantasy of it all!