Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
We passed this pub on our way to the Harry Potter tour and decided we'd come back for supper before we saw Wicked. It is housed in an old Victorian church building. The inside is entirely devoted to the old Universal Studios Frankenstein movies. They are playing constantly on TVs inside. They have props from the movies and an imaginative menu where everything is named for characters from the movies. The waitstaff is all dressed in Bavarian costumes. We had hamburgers and chips which were great.
We went from one green skinned fictional character to another. Wicked was playing at the Edinburgh Playhouse. It's facade was also lit up in green. I knew it was based on the book by Gregory Maguire, but I hadn't read it in 1995 when it was published, nor when he started publishing sequels in 2005. It was turned into a musical in 2003, but it took another 5 years before all our students were going nuts over it. I decided that maybe I should see what all the fuss is about, so I bought the first book and read it in 2008. This was partly to combat the incessant hearing of "Popular" being sung by Christen Chenoweth before the previews started of every movie we went to see that summer. I confess, I didn't enjoy it, it didn't make a lot of sense, and nothing got resolved at the end. It has a very convoluted plot and has almost nothing to do with the original Frank L Baum novels. Eventually the movie theatre stopped playing "Popular" and I forgot all about it. Fast forward 10 years. We got tickets to see the show and I went in with zero expectations. I did not reread the book before I saw the musical. Here's a link to the wikipedia page that explains the entire plot of the book, in case you haven't read it. This is what I read to refresh my memory before we saw the show.
Here's the trailer which I did not see before I saw the musical. If I had I would have been more excited to see it.
Here's the proscenium at the Edinburgh Playhouse. There was a giant dragon hanging out on top. At the top of the show, It breathed fire and its eyes lit up red, but it just seemed to be there for decoration, and didn't serve any purpose in the narrative.
Our seats were in the 1st balcony on house left, as you can tell from the photo. This theatre was originally built as a cinema house in 1929 and ran films for 40 years until it became unprofitable and was closed and scheduled for demolition. The townspeople created a petition and collected 15,000 signatures and a preservation society was created. It's housed a variety of touring musicals and bands since 1980. It also has its resident theatre ghost, Albert the Maintenance Manager.
The odd thing about this production was that it was performed in RP (Received Pronunciation--the standard form of British English pronunciation, based on educated speech in Southern England) rather than in any American dialect. Considering Frank L Baum was American, as is Gregory Maguire, I found that quite odd. Glinda flew in on a blue bubble, Elphelba flew, and the scenery was comprised of moving clockwork pieces, all of which were impressive. However, the music was forgettable, sorry Stephen Schwartz, and the story wasn't compelling. That said, the production design is amazing! Here's some short videos that the company put out on the show.
Here's a video on the special effects, of which there are many and they are also amazing. I know I keep using that word, but the magic quotient in this production is quite high, as it should be.
Susan Hilferty was the costume designer, Tom Watson was the hair and wig designer, and Joe Dulude II was the makeup designer. I have included a link to Susan Hilferty's website, specifically the page on Wicked. She has included sketches, production photos, and videos of her interviews. It's a great resource. One of the original costumes is on display at the V&A in Kensington that I had seen just a week earlier. The costumes are amazing, as is the makeup design and hair and wigs design.
Here are just a few of Susan's costume sketches from her website.
Here are some more videos on the costumes, and makeup and hair specifically. They were done by the production company and were put up on You Tube.
This is a video put out by Broadway World in which LIndsey Mendez, the original Elphaba takes the viewer through her various costume, makeup and hair changes during the run of a show.
Here are a few of the photos from the musical's website. All photography was by Matt Crockett.
All of this is uphill. As always. But at least once we got to Frankenstein, we got to sit down and eat and rest first, before we had to keep going to see the show.