Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Something Controversial

I'm going to start with a possibly controversial statement which may be upsetting to some of you so consider yourself warned: I don't think Wicked is a very good show. There, I said it.

I know there are a lot of you out there who can't resist the colors and costumes and giant scene changes of this adored show and I don't blame you. There's a reason it blows your mind- it's desingned to use every trick in the book that could possibly wow you. The problem is that it leaves no space to digest, no room to appreciate its true value. It's like having a chocolate cake stuffed down your throat. A piece slowly savored is enjoyable, but when it's coming out of your ears and slowly choking you it loses its appeal.

I'm saying all this as a preface for what was possibly my favorite birthday gift ever: second row center seats to Spring Awakening on West End. At first I was disappointed to be seeing an American show while here in London. I really wanted to have a totally British experience while here and so far it's been great. Just to name the highlights: stayiing with some British friends in Golders Green, British Museum, Hyde Park, Harry Potter Walking Tour of London, Changing of the Guards, Tate Modern, The Globe, Camden Market, V and A Museum, Covent Garden Market. Tea. So I really wanted to see something British like Billy Elliot the Musical or Les Miserables (longest running show in West End/in the world, something like 20 or 30 years).

That said, I am beyond happy with my decision to see Spring Awakening instead. I got half-price tickets which even with the pound exchange rate were cheaper than tickets on Broadway. I got the theatre early and marveled at my amazing seats. And here's where the theatre major in me comes out...this musical was EXACTLY what a musical shoud be. It doesn't overwhelm you, the songs are beautiful on there own but work perfectly for the show. There aren't massive costume changes or distracting dance numbers that serve no purpose beyond simple entertainment. The actors were all young and had incredibly pure voices that didn't try to impress me with range- just skill. Most importantly for me as an actress- they could act. I cannot begin to explain the frustration I feel when I go to see a musical where the actors sing-speak lines between songs because they've never taken a real acting class in their life. All of these actors had such amazing purity, their faces bringing you in to their deepest emotional pangs. I felt myself holding my breath and leaning forward, smiling, crying, laughing, and cringing in turn.

The actors didn't wear makeup at all and they stayed onstage the whole time never once breaking character. When the set moved or fancy lights came down, it was only to enhance the emotional build of the scene and trust me- it did. After the show I did what I NEVER do (partly because of mere embarassment) and I stood with the group of 20 something other girls by the backstage door waiting for autographs. The other beautiful thing about this show is that having almsot entirely children actors none of them were haughty or conceited. They were thrilled that anyone WANTED their autographs and happily signed and chatted with everyone there. For all of you Harry Potter fans, I got Sian Thomas' autograph who played Amelia Bones in the fourth movie.

So obviously I enjoyed the show and highly recommend it to anyone who can see it. Besides the show I had a great birthday but if anyone wants to celebrate in the more traditional fashion please let me know and I will happily go out when I return (just over a month!!)

That's all for now, but I hope you have a lovely lovely passover and I'll try to write a less theatre-focused entry next time.

Hasta luego amigos!

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