Night at the Thee-Ah-Taaah

Charity and I recently got around to reading Wicked.  I’d heard about the book from friends, and of course, one could not escape the mega-commercial, gratuitous onslaught of the Broadway musical.  First season Ugly Betty fans, you know what I’m talking about.

Since arriving in London, we could not help but notice the ads everywhere for it in the West End.  I remember being a bit remorseful about missing it when it breezed through Seattle, and since we liked the book so much, we decided to go for it.  So we’d been on the lookout for discount tickets at the tkts counter nearly everyday.  No love, no love.  Occasionally, we’d check online, and see a few 15 pound seats available waaaaay up in the nosebleeds, but they were out when we finally broke down and went straight to the box office on Monday.  Going on Tuesday was out because we had an early morning on Wednesday.  We got a lucky break for the Wednesday night show, so we decided to spend our last night in London at the “thee-ah-tah”.

OK, if you’ve never read the book but have seen the musical, you should go ahead and read the book.  It poses some interesting philosophical questions and themes that I enjoyed discussing with Charity.  On the other hand, if you’ve already read the book, I’m not sure you will enjoy the musical.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Unlike Charity, I am a musical fan.  Might be the dormant Drama Kid in me.  Who knows.  I just like musicals.  Love when TV shows have “the musical” episode (Scrubs, hello?).  That said, Wicked is a musical musical.  Seriously.  Not very much talking not-in-song anywhere in the program.  It was a little irritating at times, especially in the beginning.  It could also be that my irritation increased proportionally to how much they modified the story to fit the format.  Lots of chopping off storylines, characters morphed and merged, and of course, the storybook ending.  Gag.  OK, semi-gag.  I actually kinda liked it after all the tragedy upon tragedy upon “oh just give up on life already” tragedy of the book.  The book read like a Shakespearean tragedy.

Oh, and how could I forget about the Symphony of Sickness all around us.  I didn’t notice anything unusual other than Charity shrinking more and more into her seat as the play progressed.  At “half-time” (I know, I know that’s not what it’s called– I don’t care), Charity turned to me and said, “I feel like I’m in a sick ward.”  Apparently, she was getting coughed on from all directions, save mine (which reminds me:  time for more echinacea).  On my way back from the restroom, I had to run the Coughing Gauntlet– the tight space between the wall, the doors and the queue of women waiting to go.  Coughed all over me.  Good times.

So for the rest of the play, I was distracted with the full-on coughing from behind, the phleghmy, open-mouthed breathing of the guy next to Charity, and the symphony of coughing throughout the theatre.  A couple of times, I was shaking silently because the guy behind us was just obnoxiously coughing.  I wanted to hand him a Ricola and the other guy a tissue.  Probably should have.  Or maybe just wave my magic wand and make them go poof.  Charity kept catching the corner of my eye with her scarf over her face.  You’d think everyone had swine flu or something.  It was starting to make me paranoid.

All in all, it was a “wicked” night at the theatre.

OK, that last bit was Charity’s.  I take no credit.  What have you.

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