Tuesday, September 4, 2012

'Wicked' with Charlotte Scott in the bubble

I think after one has seen a show three or more times, writing a box standard review becomes rather difficult and because you obviously enjoy the show immensely and are able to connect with it. hence the more diary-style entry and -photos. 

Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
Performance: Wednesday 25th July 2012 at 14:30
Seat: A23 (day ticket), £27.50
Cast included: Rachel Tucker (Elphaba), Charlotte Scott (Glinda, u/s), Matt Willis (Fiyero), Christopher Howell (The Wizard, u/s), Julie Legrand (Madame Morrible), Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Adam Pettigrew (Boq), Kieran Brown (Dr Dillamond, u/s)

We had been planning this trip to say-seat Wicked for a month. Therefore, coincidences do happen. Some people call it luck. Whatever the name is, I got very excited (even that is an understatement) when I found out the performance we were going to see would be Charlotte's first show as Glinda. To quote an old blog post of mine which I wrote after hearing the lady perform in a cabaret for the first time: "What an amazing voice! And the acting and comic timing were spot on. I am now determined to try and catch a performance of Wicked with her as Glinda."

It was my first time queuing up for day-seats as well. Once Charlotte had announced she was going on as Glinda, we knew we had to get there even earlier than we had originally planned in order to secure great seats: we expected hardcore fans would be planning last-minute trips to the show following the exciting news. I was the second person in the line so my seat was nicely in the middle.

Stage-doorers enjoying the 30 degrees: Becki, Sam, Carla and Amanda
General information for people who are thinking about day-seats for Wicked (a couple of my lovely Finnish followers have asked me about this), it is not necessary for you to get there by 6am. Apparently 7.30-8.00 is okay in general. Most tourists would turn up closer to 9.00 (box office opens at 10.00). The earlier you turn up the better but it is very much down to chance as to how many people there will be queuing on any given day. Sometimes you can get a brilliant seat by coming at 9.30 (some of the front row seats on the sides are restricted view so you don't want to end up with those). It literally depends on how many people have come up with the thought "Hey, let's get day-seats for Wicked on that same date!" .

Charlotte seemed remarkably calm when she stopped for a brief chat with us on her way into the theatre. I suppose she had had time to prepare for this mentally as she had known for a while she would take on one of the leads for this performance. Normally she is in the ensemble but she is the understudy for both Nessarose and Glinda. She has been on as Nessa in the past but as first cover Glinda (i.e. she will go on only if the principal actress as well as the standby are unavailable), this was going to be her first time playing that part. She was excited (well, who wouldn't be in her position: about to play one of the most sought-after female roles in musical theatre on West End stage). She had some new costume and all. We were all thrilled for her. I knew she would be brilliant but how brilliant I could never have imagined.

Us at the theatre: Rukaya, Becki, Sam, Carla and Nic 
The front row seats were great and the sound quality was perfect. Enter Glinda in her bubble. The blonde wig did suit Charlotte! She came and delivered. It was a privilege listening to her effortlessly hitting the high notes (already in No One Mourns the Wicked but particularly at the end of Thank Goodness). She captured the character of Glinda very convincingly and she had the perfect innocent blonde face. She had come up with her own little leg flick thing for Glinda: We got a "Toss, toss *flick*" in Popular for instance. Elphaba of course then has to copy whatever Glinda does so we got an entertaining attempt of this "toss, toss, *flick*" from Rachel.
And I don't know whether it was intentional or whether Charlotte just miscalculated the momentum at which she would land on the bed when it came to the 'planking' but I don't think I have ever heard as massive a thump as the one with which Charlotte landed.

Rachel was incredible as per usual: her Wizard and I and Defying Gravity are mind-blowing every time (she has been on as Elphaba every time I have seen Wicked in London) not to mention No Good Deed which I think I enjoy listening to her sing the most. That song did not particularly appeal to me until I heard Rachel sing it. She and Charlotte worked brilliantly together and I thought their voices blended exceptionally well. 

Me and Charlotte before the show
No, you could not tell this was Charlotte's first show as Glinda. Only those who had seen the show multiple times may have noticed some slight fiddling with the pink flower when trying to attach it to Elphaba's hair and that doing the clasp of Elphaba's cloak took a beat or two longer than usual but little things like that hardly count. Charlotte's Glinda is now definitely one of my favourites. I just hope she gets to play the part at least once more before she leaves the company at October's cast change. 

I think someone has uploaded some audio of this particular show on YouTube so go and have a search around there if you fancy a listen. 

Since this post seems to be about the greatness of the understudy, I must mention Christopher and Kieran too. They both were great! I like the Wizard to have a good singing voice as well as being able to act the part and be funny and Christopher definitely fills these criteria.  

A big thanks for the company to those lovely people who came to see the show with me! I had a great time :)


  1. Am I wrong or is Christopher Howell usually playing Dr. Dillamond?I didn't know he was also understudy of the Wizard!!!
    Anyway,what a lovely review!I like Wicked so much :)
    I read you're going to see it again the first day of the new cast..lucky you!!!I'm curious about Louise's Elphaba..
    I'm seriously thinking about organizing a small trip for cast change on the 27th!(I can't believe Rachel is leaving..so sad!)

    1. Yes, Christopher usually plays Dillamond and he is the first understudy for the Wizard.
      Cast change will be incredible no doubt: both the muck-up matinee and the evening show. I went to the muck-up matinee last time and I loved it. I didn't go to the evening show though because I figured it would be very emotional and I had only seen the show in London once before that matinee so even if most of the cast were leaving I did not feel that strongly about it.
      I figured I'll be much happier seeing the first show of the new cast :) I think we are all very curious about Louise's Elphaba! She definitely has the voice and the acting skills so I think she'll be great even if it will be strange seeing her green to begin with.
      Hope you get to go to the cast change :) Rachel has become such an integral part of the show that it will be sad to see her go but then she has been with the company for 2 years or something now so one can understand she wants to move on to other things.

  2. Yes,I understand what you say,a change it's probably good..but it's still weird to think of Wicked without her :)
    Enjoy the show on the 29th!!I'll let you know if I can make it to cast change!
    Have a nice day