About four years ago, back in early 2007, when Karin (four months preggers) and I spent ten days on holiday in and around London, we saw some shows… but, of course.
Busy touring about as we were, my blog posts were quick, to-the-point updates regarding our overseas activities, glimpses intended to do not much more than tease others and (later) remind myself of the things that we’d done that had sparked my imagination and piqued my interests. As such, it was no real surprise that I would, all these years later, find posts such as the one titled: A quick note from Oxford, hastily written from a public library computer sometime back in early May 2007, glimpsing with barely a passing comment the details of our very full days, including the wistful noting of our attendance at a very cool production of the (then new-ish) musical “Wicked” at the Victoria Theater. We had planned out very few things on that trip, instead leaning on the improvisation of whatever-happens-happens kind-of vacation planning, wandering about, tasting odd foods, meandering through museums and historic sites, stumbling upon royalty, and pondering people during afternoons spent in very pleasant parks. But we did plan on a couple shows, “Wicked” being one of those.
It is only of interest now because, four and some years later the touring production of the same has finally stretched it’s wiry green fingers around the globe and appeared in our distant prairie city. And the experience both distant and favourable enough in our minds, Karin had the foresight to nab us a pair of tickets way-back-when they went on sale, tickets that set us a mere handful of rows back from the stage-and-pit for yesterday’s matinee performance.
I should note, though I’ve done so in previous posts I’m quite sure, that Baum’s Oz books rank very high in my imaginary list of books I’d take with me to a deserted island upon my eternal banishment from society for some reason list of books. Despite some raging political incorrectness that pops up a little too frequently for modern comfort, they are epic canons of fantasy literature that every kid and every adult should read. And one should definitely read them, at least a little bit, prior to attending a performance of “Wicked” — that is if one hopes to get more of the allusion-laden in-jokes than (gauging by the sparse laughter of yesterday’s audience) is provided by the mere limited number got from referencing that all-too-famous mid-twentieth century, Judy Garland-as-Dorothy adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But, whatever. Not everyone who ends up watching a musical is necessarily interested in a century-old collection of fantasy children’s literature and the play does very well to accommodate both the Oz-fans such as myself as well as more casual crowds who are looking for a simple twist on a beloved movie classic.
My biggest concern was, of course, having seen the “Wicked” show the first time (a) with little expectation, (b) during a vacation high, and (c) on a “permanent” stage in the heart of Jolly London — and having subsequently read the original novel upon which the musical was based — that the traveling version would be a disappointment. It wasn’t. It was still quite awesome, and — I gotta add — a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my wife, tweaking memories of that time in 2007, the last of the great child-free vacations.