On September 27, 2006, Wicked debuted in London, United Kingdom. And on March 29, 2023, I saw the play for the first time at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. In addition, this was the first show I had seen since beginning my study abroad experience in January. I secured tickets through my host program, FIE, for only 25 pounds. And we had good seats. Overall the performance was amazing.
The show lasted for approximately 3 hours with a 10-minute intermission. But it didn’t feel that long. In a way, it felt like I was at a movie theatre. We could scan a QR code and order food on our phones. Once the order was processed, someone would bring your order to your seat. That enhanced the experience. I did not have to wait in line at concessions to buy refreshments. In addition, the workers were fast. The theatre brought my order to my seat in under five minutes. I ordered sweet and salty popcorn and water. The popcorn was so good that I couldn’t put it down. The seats were comfortable, and my view was great because I sat beside the aisle.
While waiting for the show to start, I took note of the set. And of course, I took a couple of pictures. The stage was extravagant and intricate. There was a dragon at the top of the ceiling. But, I did not expect the effects I would see throughout the show. There was fog, lightning, people suspended in the air, and the dragon on the ceiling could move. The most impressive effect was the Wizard of Oz. A massive head was suspended over a chair that could move and talk. It would light up and have a booming voice. I was impressed. It left me wondering how someone built something so impressive and complicated.
Throughout the show, I was captivated. The performers were good at acting and singing. The performer who played Glinda had a powerful and commanding voice. When she sang, you couldn’t help but pay attention. She also hit opera notes which made her performance even more impressive. In my opinion, she was the strongest singer. A close second would be the actress who played Elphaba. Her runs and high notes were breathtaking. She had a way of conveying so much emotion through her singing. Beyond that, her acting was spot-on. She was supposed to be snarky and evil, and she played the part perfectly. I thought her acting performance was the best. The storyline was also captivating. Since I had no previous experience with Wicked, I didn’t know how the story would progress. The entire time, I wondered how it would end. I watched The Wizard of Oz as a child but Wicked provided the backstory I was missing.
At the end of the performance, everyone was on their feet giving the performers a round of applause. Seeing this show made me want to see more shows while in London.
By: Chloe Franklin