War of the Worlds.

Monday 10th December 2018, a day off work today as I’m heading to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff City Centre to watch the utterly brilliant ‘War of the Worlds’, a masterpiece from Jeff Wayne. Yet another one of my favourite shows, having grown up listening to this album constantly throughout my teens and early twenties. The newer version of the album is just as good as the old, a bit more up to date, for the times we live in. I must say though I still love both versions, they are part of my musical history experience.

A fabulous cast has been assembled for this tour, and I’m delighted to once again hear the silky, smooth, absolutely stunningly beautiful, effortless voice of the great ‘Carrie Hope Fletcher’ in the role of Beth (the Parsons wife), probably one of the best stage and theatrical voices I’ve had the privilege to see and hear in the last few years.

Jason Donovan also returns to the show playing the slightly mad parson ‘Nathaniel’. Together Carrie and Jason get to sing my favourite song from the soundtrack ‘The Spirit of Man’ in the second act.

Liam Neeson is seen in Hologram form and his interaction with the cast throughout the show is amazing, with extremely well put together scenes it’s worth watching just to glimpse the spectacle of it all.

Newton Faulkner and Adam Garcia join the cast for this tour as the ‘Thoughts of the Journalist’ and ‘The Artilleryman’, respectively. Both big roles to fill in this adventure, and one which they do extremely well. Let’s not forget another fabulous voice that appears in this superb production, that of Anne-Marie Wayne, playing ‘Carrie’, the fiancĂ© of the Journalist.

The musical itself is such an incredible spectacle to watch, the set is enormous, with a huge screen situated behind it and to the sides. The special effects on screen and around the auditorium need to be seen to be believed and a superb sound system amplifies the Band and the Orchestra to reach every part of the huge auditorium. The lighting involved is also quite spectacular, with an impressive array of colours hitting the audience from all directions. This is probably one of the best lighting shows you will see on any theatrical show you intend to visit.

This 40th Anniversary production has been absolutely stunning from start to finish. A Real treat to watch an iconic musical soundtrack come alive in front of your eyes. You just have to sit back, take it all in and wow at what the creative team have achieved putting this show together.

Matilda the Musical.

Saturday 8th December 2018, today I’m back at the Millennium Centre here in Cardiff Bay for a performance of the brilliant ‘Matilda the Musical’.

Yet again another amazing musical, and already one of my favourites. I particularly love the interaction between the kids and the so called ‘grown ups’ throughout the production. The child actors and actresses are phenomenal (as was the case when Billy Elliot toured the uk), they seem to be so comfortable on stage, for their young ages. Annaliese Bradbury was absolutely brilliant as Matilda, with a strong cast of children working feverishly at her side. A full cast list can be seen below.

Another highlight for me was ‘Carly Thoms’ as Miss Honey, her voice was just incredible, and beautiful to go with it. Really enjoyed this incredible show tonight and looking forward to more shows leading up to the end of the year.

Wicked (49th and 50th all time performance).

I can’t believe I’m finally going to achieve this incredible milestone of watching Wicked for the 50th time. It’s Saturday 24th November 2018, at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay and the Evening performance will be the magic number 50. I’ve watched the last 20 shows (23 in all on this tour) here in Cardiff, and each one has been so special, watching different cast members playing Elphaba and Glinda has been just brilliant, with everyone giving everything on each separate performance. Everything about Wicked is incredible, with the finishing touch being this excellent cast that has played here for the last 4 weeks. The cast list for this afternoon Matinee can be seen in the caption below.

The cast list for the final performance here in Cardiff is the same as the matinee. So we have two fabulous shows to end its run here, so glad I came to watch as much as I did, and tonight’s 50th really lived up to expectations, even if I did get a little emotional, mainly all the way through, got to say it was worth it. Can’t wait for the next tour.

Wicked (48th all time performance).

Friday 23rd November 2018, nearing the end of my two week break, watching Wicked at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, which I have to say has been one of the best breaks I’ve had, (apart from visiting my kids that is), watching my all time favourite musical in my own backyard.Today I just want to talk about this evenings performance. So far I have covered so many different aspects of this production, it’s time to just sit back and enjoy this wonderful Wicked experience, before it comes to an end in Cardiff.

Therefore the cast for tonight’s show appears in the caption below.

Tonight we have our two leads sharing centre stage in the brilliant Amy Ross (Elphaba) and equally brilliant Helen Woolf (Glinda). All of the other main leads have mostly remained the same throughout my visits, whom have also been brilliant themselves.

Another superb show again, this time I’ve just sat and watched from start to finish, not analysing anything to put in the blog, just listening to stunning voices, brilliant and bright sets, beautiful costumes, amazing light and sound shows, that is the magic of Wicked.

I’ve now seen loads of back to back performances and I still love every show I’ve seen, just as if it’s my first time ever watching. It’s so infectious I really don’t want it to end here in Cardiff.

Wicked (46th and 47th all time performances).

Thursday 22nd November 2018, a bright sunny morning here in Cardiff Bay and I’m at the Millennium Centre for another two more performances of Wicked.Today I’d like to talk about the role of the Cast Ensemble, another group of people I have to mention whenever I can. These actors and actresses are worth their weight in Gold to the production. The amount of singing and dancing required to make a good show, comes from the likes of these amazing people. Wicked has lots of instances where they stand out, in many of the songs throughout the show.

This Ensemble also has some fabulous voices in their midst. I love the voice of Howard Ellis, during the opening scene as we meet Elphaba’s parents, the note he has to hold is incredible. Also the solo singers in ‘Thank Goodness’ at the start of act two. Their contribution to ‘No one mourns the wicked, Dancing through life and the brilliant ‘March of the Witch hunters’ to name a few, is just phenomenal, and helps make this musical so impressive to watch.

The other role of this superb Ensemble is to provide cover for the main stars of the show. Two absolutely brilliant actresses spring to mind. Charli Baptie as Glinda and Amy Webb playing Elphaba. These two have been amazing covering for Helen and Amy (Ross), and I have to say their performances so far have been excellent, fabulous voices from both. A credit to the Ensemble to be able to find cover of their quality to act up into the main leads.

The cast for the matinee can be seen in the caption below.Today is a welcome return to the brilliant Nikki Bentley as Elphaba, who I’ve not seen since Bristol. So good to have the chance to watch 3 amazing Elphaba’s in one place, over the weeks it has been here.

Oh my God, what a performance Nikki gave, I’ve forgotten just how good she is, a beautiful voice and totally nailed everything she sang, I have to admit to having tears in my eyes every time she burst into song. It’s not everyday you get to watch two amazing Elphaba’s in one day, as Amy Ross is on tonight, along with another ensemble member in the also totally amazing Charli Baptie. Tonight’s cast list appears below.

Two totally fabulous shows today, with two different Glinda’s and Elphaba’s, could not have wished for a better day. So impressive and it seems the partnerships work brilliantly with Helen and Nikki on the matinee performance, along with Charli and Amy for the evening. Absolutely fabulous day of theatre, which is another reason why I love Wicked so much.

Wicked (44th and 45th all time performances).

Wednesday 21st November 2018, another visit to the Welsh Capital for two more performances of Wicked at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. This evenings show will be another amazing Milestone for me, as this will be my 500th performance of a show, in all theatres that I have had the pleasure to visit over the last 6 years (414 of those have been at the Centre).Today I would like to talk about the Superb Orchestra, who work tirelessly every show to bring the Wonderful music of Wicked to a packed auditorium. From the opening bars to the closing sequence the music is fantastic, it can be beautiful in places, deep and meaningful in others, but above all probably one of the best musical scores in theatre history.

The Orchestra for this tour leg in Cardiff has been led by Dave Rose or Jon Aspital, and I have to say the many shows I’ve seen lately, this Orchestra has been incredible, giving maximum performance on all these occasions. The orchestra literally play for quite a long time in each act, so to keep their concentration going for that amount of time is a master feat in itself, but they pull it off every time.

The cast that this excellent Orchestra play for can be seen in the caption below (Matinee). I have to commend Amy and Helen for the professionalism shown during a prop malfunction in act one, totally brilliant recovery by both.

The cast for tonight’s performance can be seen below.

Wicked (43rd all time performance).

Tuesday 20th November 2018, another trip to Cardiff Bay and the Millennium Centre for another performance of ‘Wicked’. Today’s theme will be the costumes for the show. Once again this colourful aspect of the show shines out through this incredible musical. At the start we have old fashioned style clothing with large coats and dresses, very impressive costume sets, which look fabulous on the big stage. Before the arrival of Glinda, in a beautiful Ball Gown, an amazing start to the show costume wise. I have to mention the rich red costume worn by Elphaba’s father during the first few scenes. Two elegant pieces of costume which happens to look really good among all the Green.

The university days come next with stylish Blue and White outfits, where everyone looks immaculate, Glinda, of course, wears a stunning white Outfit which sets her apart from all the others. Very bright and very colourful, once again.

The Emerald City costumes are even better, with some amazing shades of Green, including the dark Green and gold uniform worn by one of the Wizards men. Stunningly beautiful dresses and suits combine with the set and lighting to produce incredible scenes of Green, lighting up the whole stage and most of the auditorium to go with it.

Glinda’s costumes are really awesome, once again fabulous colours and just beautiful to look at. She has Ball gowns, two piece outfits in White and Pink and a glorious Blue at the start of act two. While Elphaba’s costumes seem a bit more dreary and Blue, until the fabulous Black dress she wears for the second act. This has so many parts to it, even though it’s black with very dark colours mixed in, its stunning to look at, and sets her apart from the others as well. One more reason, of many, as to why I love this show so much.

While I’m talking of the costumes, I have to mention the back stage Dressers of the wardrobe department, another unseen group of talented people, who keep all these costumes at hand, making sure that every person to go on stage is in the right place at the right time and in the correct costume for the scene they appear in. These guys are another of the unseen heroes of the theatrical world, working tirelessly to bring the best show to the audience at every opportunity.

So, to the cast for tonight’s show, who will actually be wearing these fabulous costumes, can be seen in the caption below.

Yet again another fabulous show with some incredible singing from all the cast, as is the norm these days.

Wicked (42nd all time performance).

Sunday 18th November 2018, yet another opportunity to watch the brilliant ‘Wicked’ at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.Today I would like to talk about the Sets and lighting for this incredible show. I always try and give these departments a mention on long runs. The work achieved back stage to produce these amazing scenes to an enthralled audience is something I’ve always admired, getting everything in place for each scene on every show is just phenomenal.

The set is so colourful and bright, and seems to go on forever with loads of different layouts intertwined through various scenes. Add in the fabulous lighting rigs, oh so colourful and Green, especially for the Emerald City scenes, and you have probably one of the best sets for any touring show you will ever see.

Every scene is something special whether it’s the brilliant lighting, the Fantastic sound effects or just the normal set design. Mix this in with the excellent songs, then this becomes yet another reason why I love this show so much

The cast for today’s performance can be seen on the caption below.

Once again for the umpteenth time, this matinee performance was phenomenal, with the entire cast on stage just brilliant.

Wicked (40th and 41st all time performances).

Saturday 17th November 2018, again I’m back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for another two more performances of ‘Wicked’. After yesterday’s blip I can now carry on where I left everything on my last blog. I want to finish my appraisal of the songs in the show, continuing with the others I’ve yet to mention, this time in act two.

Another fabulous song appears at the start of act two, with Glinda, Madam Morrible and the Ensemble giving us ‘Thank Goodness’, where there is a celebration to commemorate the engagement of Glinda the Fiyaro. The mix of great voices taking to the stage is quite powerful, the beautiful tones of Glinda, Madam Morrible (played brilliantly by Kim Ismay) with another really good voice for the Part and of course the magnificent Ensemble, who add so many gracious voices to the mix, and are just incredible from start to finish. The song itself is quite beautifully written and executed, with Glinda taking Centre Stage for the large majority, it is really a classic Wicked masterpiece and sets the show up for the rest of the second half.

One of the songs not on the Cd is ‘The Wicked Witch of the East’, another short song but once again beautifully sung by Nessarose (Played brilliantly by Emily Shaw), as Elphaba magics her shoes to enable Nessa to finally walk.

‘March of the Witchhunters’ is the next song to mention nearing the end of act two, where the Ensemble and Boc (another character played so well by Iddon Jones) come into their own. Quite a short song but enough detail and mix of excellent voices to give this piece of music another edge in the Wicked songbook.

The final song is the finale, as Glinda assumes power as the Wizard is forced out. The singing in this last hurrah is just superb from Glinda, Elphaba and the Ensemble. It is another short piece of music but fully justifies its role in the eventual end to the show.

I don’t actually think there is a bad song in the whole of this production, which is another good reason as to why I love it so much.

The cast for this afternoon performance can be seen in the caption below.

Slightly different cast list for the evening performance, which is shown below.

Again two fantastic shows with Helen Woolf (Glinda) teaming up with the two Amy’s (Ross and Webb) for a tremendous Saturday day out at the Theatre, superb.

Wicked (39th all time performance).

Friday 16th November 2018, another day at the Millennium Centre and one more performance of Wicked this evening. Haven’t been very well today, gigantic headache, not really been able to focus for much of the day. I’ll put up a caption of the evenings cast, not much else I can do today, hopefully back to normal for my next one.Helen Woolf and Amy Webb were just brilliant tonight as Glinda and Elphaba, as they always are, from the performances of Wicked I’ve watched them in before. Although it is the first time I’ve seen them together in their roles. Once again brilliant just brilliant.