Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ye Olde Englande, Week 7: A Lot of Last-Week Sight-Seeing

We were amazed at the start of last week to realize that we were down to single-digit numbers of days before we left London for home.  Time has been going fast, but we're making the most of our time here.  Julie has done a wonderful job of summarizing all of the events of this past week, but I'm going to share one highlight here, which incidentally revolves again around the theatre.

As much as I love musical theater, there are a lot of sort of standard shows that I still just haven't seen for whatever reason.  Sometimes it's just because, while I really like the show and/or the music, it's just sort of trendy at the time, and I'm not willing to stand in line for hours or pay hundreds of dollars or travel thousands of miles just to see it.  So, when I discovered Wicked was playing here, I figured it would be the perfect time to see it in a permanent venue (as opposed to a touring production), and probably at much less cost and time commitment than if it were to come back through Salt Lake City.  I found a really good deal on tickets online for a day that was perfect, and took great comfort in knowing that, rain or shine, the show would go on.  Sure enough, it was raining as we walked into the beautifully-decorated and green-lit lobby of the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
Though I have long loved the music and the Oz origin story concept, I was fully prepared to find Wicked satisfactory at best, as most contemporary shows are a lot of hype and, ultimately, fluff.  Well, Wicked was a little fluffy in parts, but I also found it thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish!  Julie, who isn't quite as into any and all musicals as I am, endured this very poppy, perky musical like a champ, and we agreed that its spectacle and flash of effects and design make Phantom and Les Mis look even more dated than we had already determined.  I'm not going to gush ad nauseam about the show, but I will say the following:

•  The cast was excellent, and I think Rachel Tucker should have been the featured actress for Elphaba on the recording.  She had me asking myself, "Idina who now?"  (Fiyero struggled in parts and his voice even cracked in the love duet.  Wups.)

•  For some reason seeing it with an English cast made it seem a little more authentic.

•  The orchestra and chorus were spot-on (and much more in tune than on the recording).

•  The expected and oft-hyped effects delivered, and the unexpected effects were great illusions.  I liked the dragon puppetry and Glinda traveling by bubble.

But the funniest part about the whole affair was the process of getting the tickets.  So I bought them online, like I said, but due to a few negative reviews about the ticket company, I was a little anxious we would have legit tickets, so I was already a little on edge as we approached the booth in Piccadilly Circus to retrieve them.  It should also be stated that I forgot to take note of my booking reference number beforehand, but I had ID aplenty.  We walked up to the desk and the ever-not-so-cheerful girl behind the desk (who we had encountered before in looking for tickets to other shows) was her usual irritated self.  She asked for my reference number, I explained I didn't have it, and then she asked for my ID.  What followed was a series of her snottily asking me for further forms of ID (just showing it would never do, I had to take it out of my wallet and hand it to her), and signing a receipt confirming that I had picked up the tickets.  She compared my signature to my two or three forms of ID in hand, then asked me to sign again (and compared again).  She asked if I had another form of ID with that signature on it, and I showed her that I have my old BYU student ID, even my bloomin' Social Security Card (which has an even older signature).  I mean, I could even have shown her my temple recommend if that would have satisfied her!  I told her I don't know what else I could show her, I have four or five or six forms of ID here and I'm obviously me, and my signature is what it is, and really, who signs their name the same way every single time??  Also, I think my signature is actually pretty consistent.  When I showed the slightest bit of resistance she finally relented and gave us the tickets, citing as her reasoning for such intense scrutiny the fact that I might have a twin who is trying to pick up the tickets.


Yes, really.

So, (as Julie said) just in case my Wicked-loving evil twin happened to be trying to swipe my tickets before I had a chance to collect them, she was being especially picky about verifying my identity.  I guess I should thank her.  Like she said, if evil-Drew were to beat me to picking up the tickets, I might have been quite upset and she would have been "the first to hear about it."  Though really, if I did have a twin, I think it would be rather convenient to be able to send him ahead with my wallet to pick things up for me.  If only.

So the tickets were fine, and the view was awesome, and the show was great.

The wicked.  Evidently no one mourns them.


  1. Wow. They took you to Scotland Yard about the tickets. You _could_ have been a twin though... it happened on The it could happen to you. You're lucky...

  2. That person sounds like the stupidest human alive. I would have laughed in her face, and demanded the real reason she wants to make life difficult for everyone. I mean, seriously, would it be the WORST thing if your identical twin picked them up for you? After all, he would be your brother, you are probably in cahoots...

  3. Yay for Wicked! And for seeing it in England! I would have loved to see it with the Elphaba you had instead of mine. Yours sounded great in that video. It looks like you guys had such an enjoyable time out there but we are excited to see you again!

  4. It's true, it was kind of like The Prestige, which is a little bit coincidental, since I was reading that book at the very time.

    She was lame, but at least she gave us some memories.

  5. Waitaminnit... you're the one with the beard. According to Star Trek rules, doesn't that make *you* the evil twin?

  6. You're lucky you got the tickets before the play got started.