Our ‘Wicked’ Day Out
Last weekend, I was invited to watch the West End musical Wicked in London. I knew how much the kids – especially Shivam – had wanted to watch it on our last day trip to London. We ended up watching School Of Rock that day, which we enjoyed immensely. You can read all about it here.
I had already seen Wicked twice before; the first time in London with my gal pals and the second time when it was on tour in Birmingham with Sukh. It’s always been a favourite of mine and it had been years since I had seen it last so I was keen to accept the opportunity.
It was Saturday 19th May – the day of the Royal Wedding. We thought it would be nice to make a day of it and soak up some of the atmosphere around London. It was also the day of the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea, so we knew the city would be busy. We set off from Birmingham around 9am and arrived in Osterley – our usual parking spot – just after eleven. We prefer to drive down as the kids can sleep if they want to and we’re not restricted to specific travel times in case we decide to stay in London till late.
We took the Piccadilly Line to Green Park and then a couple of stops to Oxford Circus. It was time for lunch by this point and we let the kids decide where they wanted to eat. If it was up to Sukh and I we would have gone back to The Great Thai Cafe, my favourite eatery in the capital. Shivam wanted Wagamama’s and Shalini had wanted to try a Lebanese restaurant. However, Shivam won and off we walked down to Carnaby Street.
I was a little upset that we’d miss out on watching the Royal Wedding coverage but we had already set the highlights to record and would catch up on it the next day. As we passed Liberty’s, we spotted a pub and there was a crowd of people outside. We were lucky enough to find a good spot and got there just in time to catch Harry and Meghan exchanging their vows. It was so lovely to stand there on a gorgeous day and see such a beautiful moment. The kids were glued to the big screen.
A few steps later and we were at Wagamama’s.
Sukh and Shivam both opted for a chilli chicken ramen, Shalini chose a Pad Thai and I decided to go for the ginger chicken udon. We had over an hour before we had to set off for the Apollo Victoria Theatre so we took our time over our meal.
Shivam loves spicy dishes and he absolutely loved his Ramen. It’s only been a few days and he’s already asked when we can go back!
As soon as we were done, we went back to the pub to watch a bit more of The Royal Wedding before jumping back on the tube at Oxford Circus. By now, Oxford Street was extremely busy but no more than on a regular Saturday. I had worried that because of the wedding we would face delays and struggle getting around but thankfully, we were at Victoria Station within minutes.
The theatre was fairly busy given it was the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup final. It was nice to see a line of people at the entrance. It’s no fun watching a show when the theatre is half-empty. I picked up the tickets from the Box Office and off we went to find our seats.
The Apollo Victoria theatre itself has so much character and has been home to Wicked for over ten years. I loved the green seating and I found it fairly comfortable as far as theatre seats go. I watched Starlight Express here as a kid and then years later, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams.
Now on to the show itself. The stage production is huge and if you love props, clever little tricks and gorgeous backdrops, you will not be disappointed. This show has everything.
I have loved all things Oz since I was a little girl and not a Christmas has gone by when I haven’t watched Dorothy and her friends embark on their adventure down the Yellow Brick Road. I don’t want to give too much away about the storyline because it would be a shame to ruin it for those planning to watch this show at some stage – and I do insist that if you love musicals, this has to be on your list.
It starts where the Wizard Of Oz almost ends – with the death of the Wicked Witch Of The West.
The musical follows the story of two girls, Elphaba and Glinda who meet as students at university and for me, above all else, it’s about their unlikely friendship. Glinda is a popular girl who’s never had to struggle for attention and then there’s Elphaba – who’s born green – and therefore been shunned by society all her life. Over the course of two hours and forty-five minutes, we find out how and why they become Glinda The Good and The Wicked Witch Of The West.
It might sound like a long show but we were so lost in the energy, the captivating performances and the fantastic costumes that we didn’t realise the time. There is an interval and it came at such a crucial moment in the story – the scene (which I won’t give away) sends shivers down my spine every time. We treated ourselves to ice cream, took a toilet break and then waited for the second half to begin.
The songs are catchy; my favourites are Popular, The Wizard And I but the most breathtaking is Defying Gravity. Alice Fearn as Elphaba and Sophie Evans as Glinda put on powerful performances – as do the rest of the cast.
The show is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and hats off to the team who adapted it for the stage. It’s an alternative telling of The Wizard Of Oz, which you hear and see references to throughout the play. You see familiar characters pop up and it’s so written so cleverly that it really makes you question the events of The Wizard Of Oz.
The theatre was really nice and I liked the green seats. I really liked the set and costumes and it felt like we were in Oz.
The singing made the show because all the songs were really good. Defying Gravity was my favourite.
The story had some really funny parts and I enjoyed the jokes. Glinda was the most amusing character. It was really interesting how they linked the story with the Wizard Of Oz and how Elphaba became the Wicked Witch.
Verdict: I would give it an 8/10.
I think it was phenomenal (yes he really used that word!). The background was really nice and I loved the characters. My favourite was Fiyero because he was brave.
When I saw some of the characters I guessed what they would become. It made me want to watch Wizard Of Oz again.
The songs were good and I really liked Glinda because she was funny.
Verdict: I would give it an 8/10.
So overall, a great experience all round. We actually felt like we were in the magical world of Oz. It’s the seventh longest-running show in London for a reason and for me, it was just as ‘Wicked’ watching it the third time as the first.
We spent the rest of the day shopping on Oxford Street and even managed to catch most of the second half of the FA Cup Final, before heading to Southall in West London for dinner at an Indian restaurant. It was just after ten when we headed home, with everyone tired after a lovely day in the capital.