I saw "Wicked" last night. Overall it was a good show with a very interesting story line and a lot of great one-liners. I was really impressed by the costumes, lighting and some of the staging. The acrobatics was quite good as well but I scratched my head at the end when all these people around me jumped up and gave a standing ovation. I wondered what I missed.
The woman playing the Wicked witch (Elphy) was really good and came close to being the thing that would have forced me onto my feet but there were a few things here and there that I was not impressed by. Galinda was played by an understudy and she was really good and I think I would've been on my feet if it had been the regular and she was better than the understudy. The major hassle was the fact that the understudy had a few top notes to hit and she missed them by a good tone to a tone and half which clashed with the harmony and made me cringe. (This happened about 3 times through the night.)
The love interest (Pietro?) was played by a local celebrity who had first come to light on Australian Idol. He can sing but he can't dance. All of his dance routines were simple and still he looked a little awkward. I had the biggest chuckle during the major love song in the second half when Elphy and he are singing away about undying love and this being the best night of their life. All I could think of as I watched this was "I wonder if he was like this when he had a night with Paris?" (This particular gentleman rose to 'fame' when he "landed" a night with Paris H when she was on a whirlwind tour of Australia.) The thought distracted me somewhat and unfortunately I laughed and the man next to me was unimpressed.....
Watching the audience was just as entertaining as stage show. I followed two young ladies up the stairs. They were both beautifully dressed in slim fitting dresses, stockings and paton leather, high-heeled shoes. The blonde girl had amazing ringlets. They approached the main usher at the top of the stairs and he asked them who had the tickets. The blonde girl opened he mouth and out fell the most god-damn awful accent I've heard in my life "Oh, I do...." An image crushed.
The venue where the show is on is an older theatre (in the scheme of the world it is quite young!) and does not have any lifts or escalators and many people got to the top seating area and discovered that they had MORE stairs to climb and their face fell. I was amused.
The girl I went with sat in the stalls as we got tickets at different times and although we tried, we couldn't get tickets together. I was sitting near the entrance and watched the main usher with interest particularly when a woman with four or five kids appeared at the top of the steps. He asked her for her tickets. She handed over what turned out to be one, the others with all the kids. He looked at the ticket, then at all the kids and said "well you only have one ticket but that's ok. I'll show you to your seat and all the kids can sit on your knee. I'm sure that'll be fine." The look on the womans face was brilliant. The smile vanished from the ushers face and he moved the family on quickly.
I can recommend Wicked - but if you go in Melbourne you have to go to watch the audience as it is fairly clear that they are not used to watching live theatre and have no idea about etiquette.