Defying Gravity at Bristol Hippodrome

Yesterday evening I was given the opportunity to join Elphaba as she defied gravity – and boy did she do it with style. For 11 years I had been begging my mum to take me to see the musical ‘Wicked’ as time flew by and opportunities came and went we were unable to see the musical until this very week. Receiving the tickets at Christmas felt like all my dreams were coming true and lucky for us the ‘Wicked Tour’ had decided to grace Bristol with its presence, meaning that we only had to drive for an hour to get there. 

My mum decided that we should make a night of it so we promptly booked a room at the Holiday Inn for both my dad and us. To say I was surprised by the hotel is an understatement, I had no idea how posh and swanky it would be, our room was massive and the next morning we had an all you can eat buffet breakfast! 

The walk down to the Bristol Hippodrome was filled with adrenaline, excitement and also a little apprehension. I'd been waiting so long to see this musical that I worried it would not be able to match my expectations. I had grown up surrounded by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth’s version of the musical and I worried the leading duo would not be able to recreate it as well as the originals had done.

The Hippodrome glowed a bright green light, illuminating our pathway towards the theatre. It seemed the entire city was in celebration for opening night as the fountains just across the road had also been set with a green glimmer. Saying goodbye to my dad we went into the theatre where the atmosphere was electric, I could immediately tell everyone was excited for the show. Merchandise was being sold everywhere with customers throwing money to the cashiers and I have to say I was one of them. 

I purchased the Souvenir Brochure with the Original Cast Soundtrack, which I had wanted for a very long time. I make it a tradition to buy the Souvenir Brochures when I see a musical just as I did when I saw Les Miserables, Phantom, Cats and many more. To add to the two items I also picked up an amazing t-shirt that has the quote ‘Never Apologise For Talent’ which I think is so correct and a lesson for us to live by and finally the original programme. 

Onto the show itself; sitting in our seats, I am only a few rows from the front. My mum and I love to sit in the stalls as it means we have a perfect view of the stage. The curtain is down and it shows a huge map to the Emerald City and above our heads a dragon waits patiently. 

As the opening music begins to play shivers run up my spine as ‘No One Mourns the Wicked,’ blares out from the live orchestra. I cannot help but grip my mum’s hand with joy and as the rest of the musical plays I realise that all my fears were stupid. My expectations have been exceeded and then some. Ashleigh Gray who plays the Wicked Elphaba had a voice so powerful and amazing that I grinned like a mad women when she hit the final note of Defying Gravity. One of my worries had been that Ashley could not match the level Idina Menzel had set but boy oh boy did she! She was fantastic and I truly wish to see her in theatre again some time. 

Although I knew the majority of the songs I did not know the story completely and I was pleasantly surprised to find out the plot is before the Wizard of Oz and also during and then after. Because of this they are able to explore the story of both witches and Emily Tierney amazed me with her wit and brilliant acting as Glinda. Those who have seen the musical will understand me when I say her ‘Toss Toss’ was on point! And her little quirks in the songs were brilliant. Both Emily and Ashleigh worked amazingly together and bounced off each other with their humour.

Overall, the show was amazing and I loved every single second of it. For the opening night the only problems encountered was a second cut out of microphones during the group performances but this did not affect any of the songs at all. I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to go and I cannot thank my mum enough for taking us. I only hope that I am able to watch the musical again in the future as it is definitely one I would love to be able to go back and see again and again and again. 

What are your favourite musicals?


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