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Review: Wicked, Birmingham Hippodrome

Wicked is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire which regales the incredible untold story of The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches: Glinda, the Witch of the North, and Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West.

Winner of more than 100 global awards, Wicked has already been seen by 65 million people worldwide and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of its Broadway premiere.

It’s a show of two halves in every sense. The first half is an origins story of how Elphaba and Galinda became witches at a school of sorcery akin to Hogwarts. The second half follows the plot of The Wizard of Oz from the witches’ perspective.

Wicked, Birmingham Hippodrome
Photos by Matt Crockett.

Such was the anticipation of the opening night at Birmingham, a half-hour delay to curtain up due to ‘technical issues’ didn’t detract from the excitement – and there was much relief when it was confirmed ‘the show will go on!’

Central to the story is the unlikely friendship between our two main characters, the misunderstood Elphaba and popular girl Glinda, who, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a spoiler to say, go on to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North respectively.

What a powerhouse pairing this is. Laura Pick and Sarah O’Connor deliver West End quality performances on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage, more than ably supported by a talented cast and ensemble. The duo also share a believable chemistry that underpins the story and its deliciously saccharine sentiment.

And as for their vocals, there’s so much to admire. From O’Connor’s beautiful operatic tones to Pick’s rousing rendition of Gravity at the end of the first act.

Wicked, Birmingham Hippodrome

The show’s staging, choreography, technical effects and costumes also played their parts in ensuring that wow factor was there throughout and the earlier gremlins were very quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Whether or not you’re one of the lucky 65 million people to have already seen Wicked, be sure to book your seat during this latest five-week run. As a first night standing ovation demonstrated, It’s a show that is continuing to cast its spell over audiences.

Wicked plays at The Birmingham Hippodrome until April 7th, but with over 60,000 tickets already sold, you’ll need to be quick if you want to be part of the magic. Visit here