Last night I took Mum to see Wicked
for her Christmas present, and it was definitely a great night out. It's hard to say if I'd recommend it though, because as far as we were concerned the appeal was so
much down to Idina Menzel as Elphaba that I don't know how good it'll be once her stint ends - we got in right at the end of her run. Menzel's voice is amazing and she deserves all her plaudits. The songs were fun but largely unmemorable so I can't see myself buying the soundtrack, although I may download Elphaba's big number, "Defying Gravity."
Helen Dallimore as Glinda was also very good in what is initially a pretty unsympathetic role, and Miriam Margolyes is clearly enjoying herself as Madame Morrible. Mum's verdict on Adam Garcia was "great dancer, shame about the voice" but since my sister reads this blog and she's had a crush on him since she was tiny I'd probably best say no more. Meanwhile Nigel Planer as the Wizard bafflingly tries to do an American accent, despite everyone else in the cast using their own - and doesn't pull it off.
It's definitely a big
show, very extravagant, and the clockword-themed set design is gorgeous, although a bit odd since all the clockwork featured in the original book has been excised in the stage adaptation. If there was anything I disliked the most it was the huge changes made to Gregory Maguire's novel which I recently read
, some of which were clearly necessary to give it the wider audience a big show needs, some of which just seemed like a shame, cutting out the ideas that appealed to me most in the book. In a way it was almost the similarities
which were more distracting than the differences, and if the musical had had different characters and set itself up as "inspired by" rather than an adaptation, I might have given it a fair go on its own merits.
Still, lots of fun overall, and as for Idina Menzel someone at work went to a matinee where all
the main characters were played by understudies and she still loved it, so it's clearly not a necessity to see her, just a great bonus. In any case, Mum cried at the end, and as far as she's concerned that's job done.