Wicked + The Wizard of Oz

Me and Duke, we like to go to shows. Conveniently, one of the things that London does well is theatre. They have a billion theatres, and many many shows are always on. We've seen a ridiculous amount, and recently we saw Wicked, and shortly after, The Wizard of Oz.

I'd never heard anything about Wicked before, but it's essentially a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, and showing the story from The Wicked Witch of the West's perspective with a bit of back story. And woah buddy, turns out she's actually just a girl whose green with a big heart. Kind of. And the wicked witch of the east? Less wicked and just in love. Makes the munchkins looks pretty horrid, actually.

It was pretty amusing to watch, and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the switched perspective. Some of it was hilarious ("what kind of person steals a dead ladies shoes?!"), it was unexpectedly witty and I spent a fair amount of the show with a grin on my face. They also butchered the english language (in a cute, charming kind of way) to indicate that they very much were in OZ, and not in Kansas. It was cute, and I found it amusing. In general it was everything you'd expect from an amazing show, the actors were brilliant with phenomenal voices (although I could have easily passed on 'defying gravity'. The moment I heard it my mind went to Glee *pulls face*). The costumes were really something (I especially liked the green oz costumes).

Overall pretty amazing! Definitely a show I enjoyed, and would recommend going to, if shows are your thing.

Shortly after, we saw the Wizard of Oz. And I'm glad that I saw Wicked first, I'm not sure I would have seen it otherwise if I hadn't. We went on a bit of a spontaneous whim, and decided to check the box office for last minute tickets for that evenings show. And well, the show was lovely but it wasn't amazing. The Lion was stylised a bit of a dandy (his word, not mine. Not at all styled like the original lion from the movie, who I preferred), and the Tin Man had a johnny bravo way of delivering lines, which was amusing at first and not so much shortly after.

I kept remembering the songs moments after I heard the opening bars, so that was a lovely surprise, but the songs were long and didn't really keep my attention all the way through. Where the movie had a story running through it (a story with songs?), this felt, well, more like the musical it is, and more about the songs than the story.

Still the sets were amazing (the yellow brick road was a titled circular path from which things like the poppies, fields and forests appear in and around. And toto was amusing, he was a very well trained dog! He wasn't black though, he was white (perhaps they're all about equality in their animal training schemes).

But what really bothered me? I wanted it to be a bit clever, and lead into Wicked, and it didn't. It would have been especially clever if it had, but alas. It's done by a different production company, but oh oh, I would have got such a kick out of it if it had. They are clearly different shows. Sigh! I also think seeing the movie definitely coloured my opinion, where as Wicked was a clean slate with no expectations.

We saw Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, and it's been playing there for ages (since 2006, I think?) and has just extended the run till at least April 2013. We paid £32.50 for okay seats. The Wizard of Oz was at the London Palladium, and I think it's recently closed. However, I'm sure it will be back. It's a timeless classic, right?

So yes, see wicked if you get the opportunity. Wizard of Oz? If you have the time and inclination, I'd say.