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.

Wicked (37th and 38th all time performance).

Thursday 15th November 2018, back at the Millennium Centre here in Cardiff Bay for two more performances of ‘Wicked’. Today I’m continuing my appraisal of the songs in the show, with a selection of other numbers, beginning with ‘No one Mourns the Wicked’, the opening sequence with Glinda and members of the ensemble. A fabulous start to the show, a host of amazing voices and the operatic voice of Glinda herald the beginning of a stunning musical, this leads us into another ensemble piece with ‘Dear old Shiz’, where we meet Elphaba for the first time. The two opening songs really go together as one, with some excellent voices from all the on stage cast floating into this fabulous auditorium.

We move onto another brilliant song with ‘Dancing through life’ started off by Fiyaro and Glinda, before the ensemble muster to give us another superb song. So much goes on in this scene as well, with the interaction of nearly all the cast at different intervals. This piece is so full of life as it moves through the different characters we meet leading up to the party and the friendship of Glinda and Elphaba. I love this song, it’s great to listen to on CD but even better live on stage.

When we first meet the Wizard he has a little song to sing to Elphaba and Glinda as he greets them at his Palace, entitled ‘A Sentimental Man’. Another short but poignant piece of music, which illustrates another great voice among this special cast. I’ve covered pretty much all the songs in act one for now, more from act two on my next visit.

This afternoons matinee cast can be seen in the caption below.

For Tonight’s performance Charli Baptie returns as Glinda. Another fabulous day today as I get to watch two amazing Glinda’s in one day. Couldn’t have wished for a better day. So tonight’s cast list is the second caption of the day so far.

So once again two amazing shows today, I love wicked, especially when you have three exceptional actresses playing two strong roles. Amy and Helen were superb this afternoon, then Amy teams up with Charli in the evening to also be amazing.

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.