Oh What A Celebration! #WICKED10 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

I don’t know if I’ve ever reviewed Wicked before; obviously, considering I first saw the show a long time before I started blogging, I didn’t exactly manage to write down my opinions from my first visit, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to give you a rundown of what I think of the show in general, my journey with it over the past decade and how fantastic the 10th anniversary celebration was the other evening.

I first discovered Wicked when I was about six years old and the internet came into my life. It was pretty hard to miss at that time considering it had only just opened on Broadway and that the show was being plastered all over Nickelodeon like it was going out of fashion, so I Googled it to see what all the fuss was about. Obviously, I was hooked and that Christmas, I was gifted the cast album and fell in love, but it wouldn’t be for another five years that I would actually end up seeing the show in the West End for my 11th birthday. I fell in love with the spectacle of the piece instantaneously and obviously continued to love it for a long time, but something came over me a few years ago where I just fell out of love with it a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because it became boring to me or just because I felt like I’d grown out of it, but there was something about it that began to leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth and it didn’t really make me want to go back.

Martin Ball and Anita Dobson as Doctor Dillamond and Madame Morrible respectively

This feeling of uncertainty about the show continued until earlier on this year, where I decided that it was too much of a modern classic to bow out from. A return visit to the show in the summer was much appreciated for the cause and definitely kicked me in gear when it came to finding my love for the show again, but it wasn’t until Tuesday evening actually that my passion for the show was reborn. This new 10th anniversary cast that they have assembled – headed by Rachel Tucker (who I first saw as Elphaba when I first saw the show on my 11th birthday) and the incredible Suzie Mathers – is beyond sublime. For the first time in my life, I have seen a completely different side to the show: it is a musical that actually has so much more weight and depth to it than I’d ever realised before.

I think I failed to notice it in previous visits because the show seems to have had a slight casting crisis. For a long time, it seemed as though the casting directors felt much more comfortable casting actresses who could simply belt out the tunes and, in my opinion, they neglected those who had the real acting chops… until now. Rachel Tucker is notoriously a fantastic choice as Elphaba and she continues to thrive in her return, but the real star of the show here is most definitely Australian import Suzie Mathers. Her ability to become Glinda and exhibit the character which such complexity and depth blew me away the other evening; I’d never realised how much depth that character really had to her before. In an interview I’d seen from Mathers, she expressed her love for playing the role and that is evident here; shes dazzles when it comes to performing as not only is her acting ability top notch, but her vocals are second to none as well. The recent casting crisis also seemed to favour Glindas who could simply sing the notes, but Mathers is speaking the lyrics as if they’re just normal written text that happen to be tied to an intense and wide-ranged soprano melody.

Suzie Mathers dazzles as Wicked's new Glinda; Oliver Saville continues as Fiyero

Being a part of the show’s audience at its 10th anniversary performance was a time to remember as well. I was surprised that the celebrations congratulating the show weren’t as big (the show ended with the vast majority of cast members from previous London companies joining Stephen Schwartz on stage – no sort of musical set to finish the evening off), but it was the atmosphere that really made the evening something special. You could tell from the moment you approached the theatre that this audience was going to be filled with people who have seen the show countless times and have celebrated it from a very young age and the passion that radiates from those kinds of people is both infectious and emotional to experience; it was a thrillifying feeling to share the room with so many fellow fans.

Straight from a stint in the Broadway production, Rachel Tucker returns to Wicked  in London

Yes, I have been on a roller coaster of emotions with this show, from adoring it to being bored of it to loving it all over again, but it’s a journey that has been well worth it. It’s undeniable that this show is one of the best musicals to have come out of the 21st century so far – if not the best – and that is evident thanks to the show’s huge fan base and network of regular attendees. I’m proud to say that I am excited to see this cast in action again in a few months’ time as they really are too good to miss, as well as looking forward to seeing the show a whole host of other times after that. On to the 20th! 

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