I do like going to the Theatre on the odd occasion (as it is rather expensive), and although initially I did not book to see it, friends who had seen “Wicked” at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, said if I got the chance to see it, to try and get a ticket. I had also read rave reviews about this production so decided that this was a show I should try and get to see it. I went onto the Theatre’s website a couple of weeks ago and managed to find two seats together in the back row of the stalls for the 11th February 2015. After all the hype I was really looking forward to it.
I had no idea what it was all about but to précis, it is about the story of the friendship between the two witches of Oz, one the good witch Glinda who wants to be loved by all, and the other the misunderstood “Wicked Witch of the West Elphaba (the green witch). Both girls met at University as sorcery students and follows their trials and tribulations along the way and where they eventually meet the Wizard Of Oz where their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take a very different path.
Anyway, we arrived at the theatre and were a little disappointed in our seats, as to be honest they could almost have been classed as restrictive viewing as the far left hand corner of the stage was obstructed by the “Planum” seating area, but still had to pay the full price of £60. That is probably why these were still available.
I have to say that the sound was very loud and the majority of the time could not hear what anyone was saying. The main characters were fine when they were talking and singing in low keys, but when they got to the high notes, again could not hear what they were singing about and I have to say that they did screech and shout in some places. When the whole cast were singing then it was impossible to make out. I also have absolutely no idea what the mechanical wizard said, as it boomed out so loud it was completely distorted.
I have to say that the first half did not really come to life until about 10 minutes before the interval and I did find it all a bit boring and slow in places. I was therefore waiting in anticipation and hoping that the second half would be better, but sadly it wasn’t.
I was also annoyed and surprised that the usherette who was sitting almost next to us, decided during the first half to have a snack and open a packet of something (not quite sure what) and kept rustling the wrapper and we could actually hear her eating. I was ready to say something had she continued in the second half, but thankfully she had stopped. Obviously she had seen the show (for free) on a number of occasions, so she gave no consideration to those of us who had to pay £60 a seat for the privilege.
I would also say that it was uncomfortably warm.
We came away feeling somewhat rather disappointed with the whole show, apart from the well known “Gravity” song, there were no memorable songs whatsoever. The two female leads were very good apart from screeching and shouting when they hit some of the top notes. It was as if we had seen a different show to the majority of other people, as what we experienced was not conducive to all the rave reviews I had previously read. Some of the audience did give a standing ovation but I am afraid that my husband and myself stayed sitting down.
There were some plus points, being the stage settings that were excellent, and so too were the costumes, and I have to mention the monkeys, they were brilliant. All tall males almost curled up as they danced around the stage.
I have seen many musicals over the years, here at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and also in London, and there is still one in my view that stands head and shoulders above them all, and that is Les Miserables. The songs in this are powerful, stirring and instantly recognisable, even though the actual story is deep and dark with no glitz or glamour or special stage effects. I have to say that the production that came to Plymouth was the “best” show I have ever seen, and everyone in the whole of the audience on the night we went gave a standing ovation which went on and on and we went away after being completely wowed. Nothing has ever come close, but of course this is only my personal opinion.
If you have any comments then I would be pleased to hear from you