Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Wicked' London - the "new" cast

'New' in quotation marks because they have been playing the parts for two months now so I don't know whether you can really call them the new cast anymore but this was my first time seeing them. As usual, I'm going to focus on the things I liked about the show rather than ranting on about things that were bad :)

Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
Performance: Saturday 11th February at 19:30
Seat: Front stalls right, slightly restricted view. We were seated only a couple of rows from the front in front of the loudspeaker. The sound quality was terrible there so will avoid those seats in the future. 
Cast included: Rachel Tucker (Elphaba), Gina Beck (Glinda), Matt Willis (Fiyero), Desmond Barrit (the Wizard), Julie Legrand (Madam Morrible), Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Adam Pettigrew (Boq), Christopher Howell (Dr Dillamond)

I was very excited to see Gina as Glinda as I saw her a few years ago as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and I could imagine her being suited to the part of Glinda as I quite like Glinda to have an operatic voice. The feedback I had gotten from people who had already seen her had been mixed: many people said she was good but that they missed Louise's characterisation. 
Personally I found that Gina's Glinda corresponded well with that mental expectation I have of the character. She was very bubbly and smiley which I liked (she has a kind of cute, girly way of smiling which makes her whole face light up and she made that a part of the character very effectively). Overall Gina came across to me as quite a natural and convincing Glinda. She made the character believable. Oh, and she has a lovely voice well suited for No One Mourns the Wicked and Thank Goodness. She impressed me especially with the latter by nailing the optional high note at the end. Found a recording of her doing NOMTW. Have a listen. Vocally she is a very strong Glinda in my opinion:

An interesting thing that I noticed (Gina and Matt both did this during the course of the show): they rushed a one or two of their lines to the extent that they actually sounded like normal speech. I don't mean it in a negative way. It is just peculiar how you don't notice the way in which most lines are spoken slightly slower than normal conversation pace until someone does not do that.

Matt is actually more attractive live than in pictures I think. He has a very pop-style voice which is not the kind of voice I would pick for my ideal Fiyero but I don't see a reason why it would not work for some people. He also played the arrogance of Fiyero well. Having someone like Matt who is already famous in non-musical theatre circles will persuade new people to come and see the show. That in turn means that the show is likely to run for longer :) I am surprised there had been no attempt to cover the tattoos on Matt's arms which, although they may suit him, I did not think were particularly appropriate for Fiyero. 

Some souvenirs ;)
I was very impressed by Desmond Barrit as the Wizard. I really liked Clive Carter especially because he was a very good singer so I did not expect to like his follower but Desmond sang very well. We had a word with him afterwards at the stage door and and he said he finds the singing terrifying :P

Random points:
  • Gina said "Our paths did cross as students" instead of "at school".
  • It was strange seeing Nessarose with ginger hair to begin with (the wonder of Nessarose not wearing a wig).
  • I liked Gina's ending to Popular. She made it funny and different. 
  • Loved Julie's 'Nooo' when Glinda asked if she could touch the Grimmerie. 
  • Rachel's growl in the last 'Ah' of Defying Gravity <3 
  • Lillie and Adam did a good job of Wicked Witch of the East, I rather liked Lillie's voice.
  • Rachel's No Good Deed <3 (I was never a big fan of the song until I heard Rachel sing it; I think it's her best number).
  • In For Good, Gina reminded me vocally of Annaleigh Ashford.
  • Gina had chosen to play quite an upset Glinda in For Good. She probably didn't cry for real but she was convincing anyhow. 
  • Overall I salute Rachel for doing a good job despite having been ill a lot lately and still recovering from that.
  • According to Gina, Galinda is not in the second classroom scene because she has dropped the class being tired of Dr Dillamond harping on about the past (the popular interpretation is that she is hung-over after the party).
  • According to Rachel the reason why Elphaba abruptly stops carrying a bag in the second act is because she has become more mature and the bag gives a bit of a school girl image.
Finally, Rachel performing No Good Deed: 


  1. Rachel <3 Gotta love the way she sings the word "Wicked!" near the end of that song. She's amazing...
    - S.

    1. Absolutely! The emotion Rachel puts into her performance of that song is just incredible.