I went to go and see Wicked during the week, and it was brilliant, I would highly recommend it to anyone.
If you don’t know the play is about the Wicked Witch of the West, a sort of precursor to Wizard of Oz. It tells the story of how she became the reviled character and her relationship with Glinda (with a Gerrrr) the good witch. It starts where the Wizard of Oz leaves off, the people are celebrating the demise of Wicked Witch of the West. The good witch is delivering the news, when someone asks her a question…weren’t you once friends with her?
“Yes” says Glinda, “but it was a very long time ago”…cue the story of the two girls being told. We learn of how unwanted Elphaba was as a child, about how she was bullied for being green and how she actually really cared and wanted to do good.
Rather than her being a disliked and wicked character you end up really liking her, she is feisty and although she is a bit hard around the edges it is obviously a defence mechanism after years of being bullied and being made to feel worthless.
To be honest I found it quite sad and at times hard to watch, it’s never nice to see someone being bullied. Watching her being teased by her schoolmates did remind me of school. Obviously I was not bullied for being green, but I was picked on, the popular girls would say nasty things, whilst boys would call me ugly and shout “dirty grunger” at me (my friends and I listened to rock music and apparently did not bathe). I now look back and laugh it, but at the time it was hurtful and left me with little self confidence.
Bullying is a very serious issue, especially nowadays, in my job I am learning more about it. One of the charities within the National Children’s Bureau is the Anti Bullying Alliance, which the show actually supports, so I have heard how widespread the problem is. I have also learnt what a negative effect social media has had, making it easier for bullies to continue the attacks outside school, cyberbullying really does make it 24/7.
I think the play explores the issues of bullying and although no-one says how Elphaba was treated was wrong, you can see that Glinda feels bad for being unfriendly and mean and the fact you feel uncomfortable seeing the effect the bullying has hopefully does teach the younger audience members that its wrong.
Also in the end everyone becomes friends and of course there is a happy ending, which I won’t ruin!
I think overall it’s just a really fun musical, there’s lots of singing, though not relentless, you learn some interesting things about characters from Oz and there are some hilarious moments. If you’re a fan of musicals…actually even if you are not, well give it a go.