Friday, 11 November 2011


As a mother, do you ever feel like the Wicked Witch of the West? Constantly the bad guy - insisting homework is done, rooms are tidied, vegetables eaten. We turn the beloved telly/wii off and suggest some outdoor play. We dole out punishments, drag them to hated swimming lessons and make them use a knife and fork when eating. In fact the line I hear most often from my children is 'You're so mean!'

Funnily, daddy isn't painted with the same brush. Perhaps that's because he isn't there every day. He forgets that they have to do homework, feels that pasta, pesto and peas is a perfectly well-balanced meal (even if it's served daily) and is more than happy to mooch on the sofa in front of kids cartoons for hours instead of getting wet outdoors. 

In the land of Oz, mothers are most certainly the Wicked Witch of the West and dads get to be the Good Witch Glinda, the popular one that everyone wants to hang out with.

But last night I was lucky enough to go see Wicked - The Musical. If you're not familiar with it, it's a prequel of sorts to The Wizard of Oz.  It tells the alternate story of the witches of Oz, of the unlikely friendship between two girls who meet at sorcery school. It turns the notion of what is good and what is bad on its head and makes you look at the story of Dorothy and her trip through Oz in a whole new light.

It brought home the message that just because you're painted as the Wicked Witch doesn't mean that you're wicked, you're simply trying to do good things that other people don't necessarily want you to do - like making children clean their teeth or in the case of the Wicked Witch, giving animals a voice.

There were parts of the storyline that I found a bit obvious and moralistic, but that's where my criticism ends. The costumes, set and actors were all spectacular, particularly given that most of the key roles where played by second understudies. The music and dance was amazing and it's easy to see why the show won the 2010 Olivier Award for Most Popular Show and 2010 and 2011 Award for Best West End Show. 

Perhaps it was just having the chance to go out with some girlfriends in the big smoke, leaving Good Witch Glinda at home looking after the kids, but I left the show feeling as though I was defying gravity and more than happy to have the label of Wicked Witch in our house. After all, she's not really wicked, she just needs better PR. 

About the show
Wicked shows at the Apollo Theatre, Victoria, London -   
I imagine girls aged 8 plus would love this show - lots of pretty fairy dresses and make-overs. Boys will enjoy the baddies and everyone will enjoy how the characters fly around the stage. 
Warning: younger or more sensitive children might find some of it a bit scary - like the flying monkeys.
Note: I was given free tickets to see the show.

So mums, let me know if you ever feel like the Wicked Witch of the West and how you feel about being the misunderstood meanie.

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