More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wicked - Australian Production

I first heard about Wicked on Ugly Betty. Betty mentioned how she really loved the show over a few episodes and it was a common interest between her and the guy she couldn’t have, Henry. Finally, they got tickets to go watch the musical and end up being in it. At first, I have to say that I thought the story looked a bit strange from the few minutes that I saw on Ugly Betty. I mean, who wants to know more about the Wicked Witch of the West. She used to scare me when I first watched Wizard of Oz as a small child.

Anyway, I decided to give it a go and went and got the Broadway recording of the musical. I thought it was a bit strange at first and really didn’t like it that much. But as I listened to it more and more, it really got me hooked. I was still a bit confused to the whole story, but the songs were good.

When I heard that Wicked was coming to Australia, I thought I should go and see what it’s like. I’m glad I went as it’s a fantastic stage show with humour, romance, action and lots of singing and dancing obviously. Basically, the story centres on the relationship between Elphaba, the Wicked witch, and Glinda, the Good witch. It precedes the Wizard of Oz story. To find out more, read the Wikipedia Wicked article. It explains the story and everything related to it in much more detail than I ever could. I’m going to discuss my experience and thoughts about the show instead.

Let me start with the actors. All of them do a great job and were excellent throughout the show. Most were equal to, or possibly even better than the Broadway cast recording. Amanda Harrision, as Elphaba does a absolutely amazing job playing the role and living up to the high standards set by Idina Menzel from the original version. Menzel did win a Tony for her performance so Harrison had very big pointed shoes to fill. In a couple of numbers where Harrison really hit the high notes as in No Good Deed and especially in Defying Gravity, the crowd was rapturous and applauded with ferocity. Not to be outdone though, Lucy Durack as Galinda, and later Glinda was also outstanding. Durack’s vocals aren’t as strong, but her comedic timing and phrasing was perfect. She had about 90% of all the funny lines in the show, and the lines were very funny. The two leading ladies were definitely the stars of the show. The story centred around them and they definitely delighted. I loved the interaction between them and it is a great pairing.

An all star support cast that includes The Phantom himself, Rob Guest, and Idol contestants in Rob Mills and Anthony Callea also helped to lift the show even further. I was surprised that I wasn’t repulsed by Rob Mills as Fiyero at all. He was actually very good. His voice lacked a bit compared to the Broadway version by Norbert Leo Butz. The highs that Butz’s achieved in numbers like Dancing Through Life and As Long As You’re Mine wasn’t quite reached by Mills. Mills voiced even cracked during one high note in As Long As You’re Mine, but that was a very small problem. His acting was actually good and carried the story along.

Rob Guest was excellent as The Wizard, bringing a sense of kindness and evil. At times I didn’t know whether to sympathise with him for wanting a daughter or hate him for manipulating everyone. Anthony Callea was a funny Boq. Callea’s excellent voice meant that he was probably the only character, vocally anyway, that exceeded the Broadway recording that I had been listening to a lot.

After seeing the live show, the recording now makes complete sense. Having the songs put into context and the story weaved around it, I can now fully appreciate the story. The end is a small surprise, although I did see it coming. I guess it was the ending that everyone would have wanted. But the journey to that ending is rewarding as it is essentially about friendship and true friendship can overcome many obstacles.

I recommend that you go and see it and discover how all the characters in The Wizard of Oz came to be what they are. It gives a new, fresh, nice spin to a well known and loved story.

3 Comments:

Blogger Nicole B. said...

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the Australian production; I've heard it's excellent. If only I could fly down to see it... XD

9/22/2008 9:38 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Hi Nicole, I thoroughly enjoyed Wicked. I think the Australian production stacks up quite well to the Broadway one.

9/24/2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Oblivion said...

The only thing that is 'Wicked' is that gaseous poison that comes out of your cake hole after a night at Kimchis

10/14/2008 8:18 AM  

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