Wicked (36th all time performance).

Wednesday 14th November 2018, another day, another chance to watch ‘Wicked’ at the Millennium Centre here in Cardiff Bay. Today’s going to carry on where I left it on my last visit, so I’m talking about duets in act two. ‘Wonderful’ starts our first duet in this act when Elphaba returns to confront the Wizard about the winged monkeys, the Wizard actually does most of the singing, although the song is a integral part of the show, as Elphaba finds out more lies about what she has been told previously. Stephen Pinder plays the Wizard, and I must admit, sings this really well this Elphaba chipping in at strategic points.

Another fabulous duet concerns Elphaba and Fiyaro, a beautiful song with just the two of them on stage. With ‘As long as your mine’, another strategic part of the plot unfolds. Stunning singing from both engulf the stage as the two unlikely lovers pledge the rest of their lives together.

The best duet is saved for the end of the show, as Glinda and Elphaba perform ‘For Good’. Yet one more beautifully written song, that always bring a tear to my eyes, as the two girls remind us of their undying friendship, even after the events of the past highlighted throughout the show. Whoever plays the girls always make this song so special, although I’ve mostly seen Charli play Glinda recently alongside Amy (Ross and Webb) as Elphaba, these actresses are just amazing together, the only problem is the end of the show is quickly upon us, and after that song I really don’t want it to end. That’s another reason why I love this Musical so much.

There are a few more songs to talk about, but I’ll pick those up in my next blog. The cast for this evenings performance can be seen in the caption below. Tonight Helen Woolf returns as Glinda. I must mention just how amazing Charli Baptie has been over my last eight visits to Wicked, playing Glinda. I’ve seen both girls in Bristol and credit to both actresses they are brilliant.

Once again another fabulous show, the cast were totally awesome as usual, so impressive. Also a chance to watch Helen in the Lead role again, it’s nice to see both actresses sharing the role, with each of them totally brilliant in their portrayal of Glinda. More to come soon.

Wicked (35th all time performance).

Tuesday 13th November 2018, today is the first of a number of performances of ‘Wicked’ here at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay this week. With a few weeks off from work I’ve the chance to spend my holiday here in the Bay enjoying my favourite musical and walking around taking in the scenery as I go.I’ve recently been mentioning the songs of Wicked, today I’m moving on to Duets in the show. The first of those is ‘What is this Feeling’, a song from Glinda and Elphaba, summing up how the two girls feel about each other, loathing seems to be general consensus. I love this piece of music with the ensemble joining in on Glinda’s side towards the end of the song, it makes the song stand out.

Following on is a duet between Dr Dillamond and Elphaba entitled ‘Something Bad’, where Elphaba discovers how the animals in Oz are being treated, much to her disapproval.

Two more diets appear in act one, the first is another song from Elphaba and Glinda entitled ‘One Short Day’, this time Elphaba invites Glinda to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. What follows is a fabulous song involving the ensemble as well, with shades of Green appearing all over the stage, it’s bright, colourful and loads of fun to watch and pleasing to the ear as well.

The final duet of act one is probably the most well known. ‘Defying Gravity’ is an incredible and poignant song from Elphaba and Glinda, a powerful piece of music, showing off the amazing voices of the two girls. As Elphaba is forced to head out alone without Glinda by her side, the song moves towards its crescendo with an explosive end to act one, with Elphaba flying high and reaching some soaring notes as the act ends. Everyone I’ve seen as Elphaba has been just amazing during this scene in the show.

I’ll cover more duets (from act two) on my next blog. Meanwhile the all important cast for tonight’s performance is shown in the caption below.

Once again I have to commend Amy Ross who is an amazing Elphaba and Charli Baptie as Glinda who has been magnificent throughout. I really cannot fault her performance in all the eight shows I’ve seen, so good and so talented, a privilege to watch and listen to.

Wicked (34th all time performance).

Sunday 11th November 2018, day three of my Two week break, so I’m back in Cardiff Bay at the Millennium Centre for another performance of ‘Wicked’. Yesterday I talked about Elphaba’s solo songs, today it’s time to look at Glinda’s. Elphaba has three, while Glinda only has one with a part song as her second.

Glinda’s most famous solo is half way through act one with the iconic ‘Popular’ a fun song with Elphaba, as they become friends after a night on the town, so to speak. I love this piece of music as it shows the total difference between the two girls, and how they cope with the everyday things life throws at you. I’ve mainly watched Charli Baptie playing this role in Cardiff, and May I just say how brilliant she is during this song, her mannerisms and powerful voice really stand out, also it’s so funny to watch, very impressive performance.

Glinda’s other solo is in act two as Fiyaro and Elphaba run off together leaving Glinda alone and vulnerable, she has a few lines to sing as a reprise of ‘I’m not that Girl’ (Sung in act one by Elphaba), although, for me it’s not long enough, a beautiful song like this needs a little more for a voice as stunning as the actress playing the role.

For this matinee performance of Wicked the role of Glinda is played by the brilliant Charli Baptie. All 7 performances so far I’ve seen her and I have to say, once again she has been outstanding every time, her rendition of popular is the best I’ve seen in my many viewings of this show.

A full cast list can be seen on the caption below.

Once again another fabulous show, really made this a great Sunday and the end of a four show weekend, watching the best musical in the world. Although the final word must go to the two Amy’s (Ross and Webb) I’ve seen so far playing Elphaba, both of them are just so brilliant, I keep saying this on every show, but it’s true, absolutely amazing performances.

Wicked (32nd and 33rd all time performance).

Saturday 10th November 2018, another visit to the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for two more performances of ‘Wicked’. Today I’d like to talk about the numbers concerning Elphaba’ solo songs. We first see her as a student in act one,with ‘The Wizard and I’ a great introduction to the amazing voice we hear throughout the show, lyrically perfect as she sings about her life as a young girl of a different colour to the rest and her hope that the Wizard can ‘de-grennify’ her. A really beautifully sung piece of music with an amazing and powerful ending from the the talented actress playing the role.

The next Elphaba solo also in act one,is the equally beautiful ‘I’m not that Girl’, as she discovers her love for Fiyaro, who happens to be with Glinda at the time. Fabulous song with yet more superb lyrics and stunning vocals, a tear forms (every show) as the song progresses to its natural end.

The final Elphaba solo appears in act two, with ‘No Good Deed’, her most powerful of the three, as she is on the run and has lost the company of Fiyaro. A really impressive vocal exchange and emotionally charged piece of music, as she tries to cast a spell to save Fiyaro’s life. The applause around the auditorium at the end of the song shows just what this means to the audience, and its role in the final sequences of this incredible musical.

The actress playing Elphaba today is the brilliant Amy Webb (who I also saw yesterday in the role). The full cast for today’s show appears on the photo below.

I have to commend the performances of the whole cast, outstanding once again. For me Amy (Webb) and Charli seem to work brilliantly together from show to show, their voices are so incredible bringing huge performances from both, every time they take to the stage, so impressive, definitely worth their weight in gold to this superb musical.

Wicked (31st all time performance).

Friday 9th November 2018, back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, on my first day of a two week theatre break. Tonight will be yet another Milestone for me, as this performance becomes my400th at the Centre. A major achievement in my eyes, as I’ve only been watching theatrical shows for about 6 years. It’s also pretty amazing that this milestone happens to fall on a day I watch my favourite Musical of all time ‘Wicked’. This musical hits all the right notes, Fabulous songs and music throughout, great colourful costumes and a really good storyline.I’ve been asked on numerous occasions ‘why Wicked, what makes it so good’. For me it’s the plot, a story of the most unlikeliest friendship that is never compromised. Even after extreme difficulties, the bond is never broken. Add in the usual lies, told by those in charge to get what they want, to manipulate the country in to what they want to achieve, and you have a cracking story to put to music and song, totally changing your view of the so called ‘Wicked Witch of the West’. Even though I’ve seen this so many times, I still have tears forming on quite a few of the scenes throughout the show. Mainly due to the sheer brilliance of the production as a whole.

Tonight’s cast has Amy Webb as Elphaba, joining her as Glinda will be Charli Baptie, the rest of the cast list is detailed in the shot below.

Once again tonight’s performance met my expectations, Amy and Charli really made my night as special as this show always has, they were both exceptional and such a privilege to watch for the third time together over the past week. Many more to come over the next few weeks with a bit of luck.

Wicked (30th all time performance).

Sunday 4th November 2018, back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for another performance of ‘Wicked’. Only one show today but a chance to watch on a Sunday for a change. I do wish that a few more productions would perform on these days instead of Monday, make a nice weekend of things and an opportunity for more people to visit the theatre. A bit controversial probably but it seems a waste of a weekend in my opinion.

Anyway enough of my point of view and onto the show. The cast for today comprises the following, Amy Ross comes back in to play Elphaba with Charli Baptie continuing as Glinda. Also Benjamin Yates continues as Fiyaro, while all other cast members are the same as yesterday’s list.

Yet again another fabulous show, Charli was exceptional once again as Glinda (I’ve seen her three times now) and it was fabulous to watch the superb Amy Ross as Elphaba once again, (haven’t seen her in the role since Bristol), amazing characterisation and a stunning voice to go with it. It’s great to be able to watch the different actresses take on the character they portray. So many good things arise from watching this brilliant musical, which seems to make me keep wanting to see it multiple times. A short blog today as I’ve got loads more opportunities to talk Wicked in the next few weeks, before the end of the run in late November.

Wicked (28th and 29th all time performances).

Saturday 3rd November 2018, and finally a chance to to watch Wicked at the Magical Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. As you can see from the title I’ve seen this show a few times, and it’s still the best musical I have ever seen, I also intend to view this on a few more occasions while it remains in the Capital.Time to reintroduce myself with the cast for the two performances today. Elphaba is played by Amy Webb (first time I’ve seen her in the role), with Charli Baptie in the role of Glinda. Aaron Sidwell is Fiyaro (Benjamin Yates takes over for the evening role). Stephen Pinder plays the Wizard, Kim Ismay is Madame Morrible, with Nessarose played by Emily Shaw. Having been at the tour opening in Bristol back in March, it will be nice to see how far this cast has come, although I must say that they were excellent then, so they should be absolutely phenomenal now.

Firstly I have to commend Amy Webb on such a commanding performance as Elphaba, I’ve seen Amy (Ross) and Nikki on previous trips to Wicked (Bristol) with both totally magnificent, today Amy added a third to that list, such superb talent from all three so far. Her voice was amazing, so good to listen to.

Charli Baptie’s performance as Glinda today was another massive positive for the show. Fabulous rendition of the role and superb voice to go with it, couldn’t have wished for two amazing Elphaba’s and Glinda’s to start my run of shows at the Centre.

Let me mention the amazing support cast who kept the show alive with some incredible performances to match the principle actors. Wicked has me in tears for most of the show, and today was no exception, made by this superb cast. Two performances today really made my day, so brilliant to watch, I will never get fed up of this tremendous musical, really can’t wait for more chances to visit this show. Watch this space.

Rob Brydon (I am Standing Up).

Wednesday 10th October 2018, a rare midweek day off so, as usual I’m down at Cardiff Bay on a really hot autumn day. Today I’m at the Millennium Centre to meet the new members of the development team for a chance to air a few ideas etc, then I have an opportunity to watch Rob Brydon with his ‘I am Standing Up’ tour. Really good day so far, one of my best midweek days for a long while. I rarely get to watch comedy, so it’s nice to be able to broaden my theatrical horizons, with the hope of the watching different forms of entertainment on the big stage.

After the events of the day I realise just how much this theatre means to me and how it has totally changed me whole way of life. Watching all these wonderful shows, in these magnificent surroundings, with so many people I can call my friends, has been a revelation.

Time to talk about tonight’s show, first off was Andrew Bird with a 20 minute slot, very funny and no obscene language, which is nice to see, for a change. A nice warm up for the main event.

Rob Brydon was absolutely brilliant, laughed all night, great jokes along with his impressions especially Ken Bruce, classic. Really good singing voice, well he is Welsh, wouldn’t expect anything else. Fabulous night entertainment, with both artists never going down the smutty line of comedy, for a change. Feel the need to watch more comedy shows after tonight.

Amazing day today, really glad I took the day off.

La Cenerentola.

Sunday 7th October 2018, the final Opera of this season takes place today with a rendition of Rossini’s ‘La Cenerentola’ at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. With the Cardiff half marathon on today as well, got here early enough to watch some of the runners go through before a quick walk around the Bay on a glorious day in the Welsh Capital.Another Opera that is totally new to me, although I have to say I loved it, the complex singing combined with amazing togetherness of the principle cast members, all working so well, the speed and accuracy of the singing was so impressive with fabulous voices from all the cast and the Chorus, just phenomenal to listen to.

The Music surprised me as I did not think I would enjoy it, but as usual I was totally wrong, I loved that as well, fabulous music beautifully written and played to perfection yet again by the brilliant Welsh National Opera Orchestra under the Baton of Tomas Hanus.

The set and lighting were excellent with plenty of colour from the stage and cast throughout, really brightening up the experience of watching this amazing Opera. Also the six dancers who played the Mice on stage were just phenomenal, really added to the event as a whole. So enjoyed this show, I would love to have seen it more but alas only two were done here at the centre.

Summing up I have to say this was probably one of the best I’ve seen from the WNO, even though I’ve also loved everything I’ve seen from this incredible company.

La Traviata (2nd performance).

Saturday 6th October 2018, the weekend is upon us yet again, so I’m back in Cardiff Bay at the Millennium Centre for another performance of Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. Another chance to this superb Opera so close to home, brought to us by the wonderful Welsh National Opera company.This weeks cast has Anush Hovhannisyan as Violetta, Alfredo is played by Kang Wang alongside Roland Wood as his father Giorgio Germont. This trio were superb in my last showing of this Opera (last week), their voices are just phenomenal, and I must say just as good tonight.

Talking of voices I have to mention the WNO Chorus who, as usual, were exceptional, they always produce the goods when required and have become an integral part of any Opera from this incredible company.

If the singing was excellent, then the musical accompaniment was of impressive quality, as Usual the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, under the baton of James Southall,were on fire tonight, giving the audience a superb display of musical prowess.

Today has been another superb day for me, a long walk around the Bay, taking in the sights, followed by an amazing Opera at the magnificent Millennium Centre. What more could anyone want from a weekend trip to the theatre.