So, last Wednesday I had the opportunity to see the last Wednesday matinee of the 2009 / 2010 West End cast of "Wicked". Having already seen the show numerous times before I knew what I should be expected: the fun "Popular", the spectacle "Defying Gravity" and the twists and turns of the story.
Among the theatre world many people often look down upon the show, saying that it's not well written and has a sloppy score. I completely disagree with these, I think the show is fun, has great songs and has a storyline that anyone and everyone can relate to.
The first time I saw Wicked was all the way back in 2006 when it first opened with Idina Menzel as Elphaba, this time I saw Alexia Khadime as the green girl. I loved her portrayal as the Wicked Witch, however, I wasn't too keen on her singing all the way throughout. She had some great belting moments, but during the softer songs she sounded very nasal-y. However, her acting skills definately brought up her marks. I loved her sense of vulnerability during Act One, helping her to grow and definately giving "Defying Gravity" a meaning behind the lyrics. Her rebelious side in Act Two can clearly be seen from the development of events during Act One. (In fear of getting eaten alive by the Idina Meznel fangirls, I shall refrain from saying "Alexia was better than Idina").
Dianna Pilkington played the role of the ditzy Glinda. Her comic timing was to die for and her vocal skills were definately top notch. Her rendition of "Popular" had the audience in stitches, definately something hard to do on a Wednesday matinee. My personal highlight of her performance for me was her performance during the song "Dancing Through Life", seeing her less ditzy and more intelligent side as she schemes to make Elphaba look a fool and get rid of her "stalker" Boq. Not giving her a horrible side but more of an innocent character unaware of her horrible doings.
The rest of the leads and ensemble cast were absolutely perfect! It was clear to see that the cast enjoyed the performance. One day I hope to play a role in this show! Probably the most suprising part of the show? When the audience gave a standing ovation! A rarity for a Wednesday matinee audience.
The new cast - Rachel Tucker as Elphaba and Louise Dearman as Glinda - definately have something to live up to! I'm interested in seeing how their interpretations differ from the previous cast.