THE multi-award winning musical landed in Southampton last night with a bang, thankfully not the kind that took out the Wicked Witch of the East, but we’ll come back to her later…….

This fantastic musical takes us back to the magical land of Oz, but centres on the background of just how the characters that we all adored or booed as children came to be……and their journey along the way might well mean that you see a new viewpoint when you settle down and watch this classic story around Christmas ( well, is it ever really Christmas without the Wizard of Oz being on TV ???)

The phenomenon that is Wicked ( already the 5th longest running musical in the West End ) doesn’t disappoint in this touring production. The sets and costumes have been beautifully created, the musical score is incredible and combined, transport us perfectly back to the surreal land of make believe that is Oz.

The cast of over 30 are polished and would grace any stage in the West End, all are vibrant and their enthusiasm and relish in their roles make this production a fantastic experience for the audience. The supporting roles of Fiyero ( Aaron Sidwell ), The Wizard and Dr Dillamond ( Steven Pinder ) Nessarose – Wicked Witch of the East, I told you we’d come back to her ( Emily Shaw ), Boq ( Iddon Jones) and Madame Morrible ( Kim Ismay ) are excellently played and delivered with gusto. However, the main characters Elphaba ( Amy Ross ) and Glinda ( Helen Woolf ) are stand out performances – the chemistry between the two, and their vocal performances, truly are a delight and worth the admission fee alone…..particularly the rendition of “Defying Gravity”, which has become a theatre classic thanks to Idina Menzel ( who also became the voice of Elsa in that other global phenomenon “Frozen”).

With half term approaching, if you do nothing else, I recommend you don your ruby slippers, take a trip down the motorway ( the yellow brick road is closed due to road works – nothing new ! ) and take the family out for a magical night at the theatre to visit a wonderful world of imagination that will lead you over the rainbow…..

Wicked ? No, it is, in a word…… Oz-some !

Review by Mags Doyle

Wicked is at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre until October 27