For those of you unfamiliar with this award winning show, the link above will tell you all you need to know, but here is a short potted synopsis of the storyline:
Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that re-imagined the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
We used to be regular theatre goers, in the West End, but have not been up to town in a while now, so decided to make a day of it, with the givers of the gift. After a delayed journey eastwards along the M4, followed by a futile search for parking around Victoria, to be close to the theatre, we finally landed up in Knightsbridge, some four hours after leaving home.
We enjoyed a very civilized lunch in ‘Harrods‘, a very unusually quiet Harrods, where the staff definitely outnumbered the shoppers by some considerable ratio. Lunch was certainly very digestible, much more so than the parking charges of £28 for three hours!! Tradition dictated that we could not leave the store without visiting certain areas, the pet shop being one such place and the food hall another. At one point, we had to pass through ‘Waterstones’, to get to the lifts and hubbies only comment was: “Do you think you can walk straight through here, without stopping?”. Amazingly, this proved much easier than I had anticipated, although the fantastic range of ‘coffee table’ books they seem to specialise in, did look very inviting!
We later managed to re-locate the car to roadside parking, in Victoria, at a much more reasonable rate of £7.90 for three hours and decided to explore the area on foot. We were amazed at the amount of new shopping facilities that had sprung up, almost the same as that of a modest sized provincial town, although again, everywhere was eerily quiet, with staff stood around in doorways, waiting for customers.
A short walk took us as far as ‘Westminster Abbey‘, which I can only remember visiting once, as a young child. Unfortunately, we were too late to gain admission, as worshippers were already arriving for ‘Evening Prayer’. Mind you, it was probably just as well, because the eye-raising sum of £16 admission, per adult, would have likely proved unjustifiable, if not prohibitive. There was also the incongruous sight of a priest monitoring the gate, fully robed, yet on his mobile phone!!
We carried on across to the ‘Houses Of Parliament’, where upon inquiry, we were told that access to the public gallery was available immediately and free of charge. Security was very thorough, though polite and after finally being divested of all handbags, mobiles and electrical devices, we gained admittance to the viewing gallery. As it was by now, quite late in the day, there were very few MP’s in the chamber and the debate in session was regarding an amendment to the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy), which we found surprisingly interesting and informative.
A short walk back towards Victoria and a pre-theatre supper of tasty food, if rather indifferent service. A packed and very warm Apollo Theatre, hosted the main event of the day, which was the cleverly put together, delightfully performed, world-wide acclaimed show ‘Wicked’.
Any form of live entertainment is always our idea of a great time out and was almost better in this case, as we had no real knowledge of the storyline the shows producers had adopted and had not reasearched it beforehand, in fact I am ashamed to admit, I did not even know that it was adapted from and based on the above book. The quality of the singing was exceptional, with the show appealing to all age groups, judging by the amount of younger people in the audience, despite the inferences to many politically and socially controversial areas. A very cleverly put together production.
Thankfully, with the car conveniently parked around the corner from the theatre, we were on our way home again, in no time after the show had ended, to well deserved tumultuous applause, although sadly, no standing ovation.
A very enjoyable, if long day (8am-1.30am) and a present we shall treasure way into 2011.