Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wicked the Musical (Apollo Victoria Theatre) review

wicked-the-musical-apollow-theatre-london17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LL
Tel: 0870 040 0046

Unlike Les Miserables, Wicked does not have the French revolution (or any history for that matter) to be based on. Unlike The 39 Steps, its theatre (Apollo Victoria Theatre) is not right smacked in the West End. Unlike The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked does not have Andrew Lylod Webber's composition to fall back on.

What Wicked has, however, is the wondrous story of the Wizard of Oz, which many of us grew up reading. The mere mention of Oz brings back memories of Dorothy's house blown to the mystical Kingdom of Oz where good and evil is as clearly defined as black and white.


Wicked the Musical is based on Gregory Maguire's best-selling novel, "Wicked", which depicts the life of the Wicked Witch from birth till death. After

all, much as we like it to be, the real world is filled with shades of grey with bad guys having circumstances forced upon them and the good guys having a mean streak. Unsurprisingly, the audience will find themselves rooting for the Wicked Witch just fifteen minutes into the show.

Wicked went all out to redeem the Wicked Witch of the East. In the musical, the audience gets first hand experience as to how a bubbly girl was treated with contempt since young but was subsequently granted an audience with the Wizard of Oz himself at the Emerald City when her magical prowess became apparent.

Meanwhile, find out how the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion and the flying monkeys really came about. While you are at it, find out whether the White Witch of the North is really that pure after all.


No expense was spared in the presentation of the props. The audience is greeted with a huge map of Land of Oz, which serve as the stage curtains. The map reminded me of the Middle Kingdom's map in Lord of the Rings albeit a little smaller in scale but nevertheless equally enthralling.

wicked-the-musical-apollow-theatre-londonJust above the map/curtain is a huge mechanical drag an that glares menacingly down at the audience. The costumes, which were changed throughout the musical's duration according to the theme, were a riot of colors. Look out for the closing scene of the first half when the Wicked Witch terrified the pursuing soldiers with a rare display of her wrath.

Unlike most major musicals and plays in London, TKTS does not offer discount tickets for Wicked. Stall seats goes for £60 each and you'll be better off getting it directly from the box office itself. However, there are a handful of front row seats going for £25 for early birds everyday. Alternatively, book your tickets here to avoid disappointment.

Apparently, there were a handful of people who took a train into London just for the musical. Some actually came dressed up as the Wicked Witch. Wicked the Musical having travelled across the Atlantic to the West End after its roaring success in Broadway is definitely well worth the ticket price. If you are coming into London just for Wicked, check out London show and hotel deals.

Read also...
Les Miserables - Queens Theatre
The 39 Steps - Criterion Theatre

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Emm said...

I'm really keen on seeing Wicked. I have only heard good reviews about it!

cchiovitti said...

I would LOVE to see Wicked. Unfortunately, it's never played anywhere even remotely near where I live. -Sigh- your review makes me want to see it even more.

nhuong said...

You are so lucky! Tickets to see broadway here in NYC is so expensive. they are out of my price range.

Jennifer said...

I can't believe I've still never seen Wicked and I live in NY. But as nhuong says, Broadway is a fortune and I guess there were other plays I wanted to see more.

Patricia said...

Well, you poor dears, I have seen Wicked FOUR times! Three times in Chicago and once on Broadway! It is well worth the wait! My favorite musical of all time. You (especially if you are female) will love it because it celebrates female friendships like no other production. Be prepared to be enchanted!

C K said...

You should! I understand that it'll end its run in London sometime next year. But I suspect that it'll extend its run given its popularity.

You'll be surprised how many people actually flew in to watch it. In fact, there were some people rushing off the moment the curtains came down to catch their trains and planes!

Really? I was under the impression that the tics over in the States are cheaper as compared to over here in London. How much are they going for in NYC?

Now, I'm really curious... the stall seats go for £60 over here. How about over at NYC? Having said that, I guess it would be worth it to skip a couple of smaller plays and give this one a shot.

You have to rub it in, don't you? lol
I wasn't concentrating on the friendship part. I was more intrigued about how subtle the musical ties in with the original Wizard of Oz.

Alan said...

I just watched Wicked in Victoria Apollo. Went with no expectations since I didn't know what this musical was about. We just wanted to watch something new. The Wicked simply Wowed me with a Wild Me look. The costumes, props and arrays of colours (mostly green) were amazing! I recommend this to anyone who wants a jolly entertaining time!

Anonymous said...

American expat living in Singapore: first time I saw Les Mis was in Singapore in early 90s, excellent cast and performance. Have since seen it in London twice and it remains my favorite play...........only slightly ahead of Wicked which I have seen twice also in London, if Wicked had a better closing song it would surpass Les Mis, but you cannot go wrong seeing either play. While they may be costly, save up and go, it is well worth the experience (then you can get the sound tracks and re-live on the treadmill!)

Kitt said...

I dont really like Wizard of Oz movie so even though I loved Wicked the musical, I could not be bothered to watch Wizard of Oz again. what i like most is that wicked tickets are easy to get .