Wicked, The Review, (Ft Lauderdale 3-15-08)

Right, then. A good night at the theatre (or a bad one) always starts with dinner before the show. This one would be no exception. We ate, al fresco, at a place called the River House. The food was excellent, the service was slow but not bad. Our waiter, however, had the personality of a cardboard box. That’s really not fair… to the cardboard box. The company was wonderful. I went with Brenda and Evan Berner. I didn’t mind being the third wheel at all. Poor Evan was suffering from the remnants of a cold, so I felt sort of sorry for him.

We walked over to the theatre (Broward Center for The Performing Arts) right after dinner and arrived just before showtime. First, I have to say that I was absolutely captivated by the story. It’s simply amazing. The music, while well-played, wasn’t as interesting. The songs themselves, to me, were just weak. I cannot shake the feeling this would have gone off much better not as a musical but as a play. There’s not much dialogue, but one expects that in a musical.

It starts off very weak, and I was thinking “Dear Lord, why did I go to this?” for the first 15 or 20 minutes until the play found its stride. And it was all right from then on out. Until the ending which I just really didn’t like. Maybe it’s only because I have not read Gregory Maguire’s book.

Again, the story was fantastic. They did a stupendous job of marrying this show with the book by L Frank Baum and you’d be hard pressed to find many issues. The show was serious, though there was an ongoing sprinkle of comedy throughout. The performers were mostly very good though except for one, I don’t know that they’d ever bring the house down. I wasn’t fond of Clifton Hall (Fiyero). I did think Alma Cuervo as Ms. Morrible stole the show from a vocal standpoint — she’s got a voice. Glinda was a serviceable performance by Katie Rose Clarke and Elphaba, she of the green tint, was deftly sung by Carmen Cusack who found her footing in the second act.

The set was fantastic as was the choreography. The costumes are fantastic and inspired by the film. The nods to the Baum book and film are scattered throughout, and are a nice touch. The crowd as a whole seemed to love it, but this South Florida where pretty much anything gets a standing ovation — deserved or not.

While I enjoyed seeing it, I still left with a strange sense of dissatisfaction. I can’t say my expectations let me down because I didn’t know what to expect, but I never really got into the play: you know the sense where you’re part of the world as opposed to an observer of it? It just wasn’t quite there. That’s not a damning critique at all, but some plays, take Les Misérables, you get lost in the play and the rest of the world ceases to exist. This play just doesn’t have it. The whole time, I was watching actors acting and was never watching The Wizard or The Witch.

Leave a Reply