REVIEW: Wicked, The Alhambra, Bradford

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Musicals are certainly proving to be a wicked draw for Bradford at the moment.

The Alhambra boasted staging Disney’s smash-hit musical The Lion King and recently hosted a month-long tour of Billy Elliot.

But it would seem the latest addition to the musical billboard is leaving audiences spellbound.

Wicked, which has netted more than 100 awards to its name, is based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

His book was inspired by the characters and stories created by L.Frank Baum in his popular classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Audiences are in for a wizard treat as they finally get to see how the Wicked Witch of the West turned - quite simply wicked!

And it would appear we’ve not been told the whole story about the magical land of Oz.

The musical, which runs until August 21, creates a parallel universe to the famous story of The Wizard of Oz.

Charting the unlikely friendship between two sorcery students at the Shiz University, Wicked reveals the back stories of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Blonde Glinda (Carly Anderson) loves nothing more than being the centre of attention.

The shoe-loving superficial perfectionist strives to be the most popular girl in the class.

However, misunderstood green girl Elphaba (Jaqueline Hughes) is defying gravity as she longs to meet The Wizard of Oz (Steven Pinder).

The duo avoid each other at all costs until they are forced together to share a dormitory and then spark an unlikely bond of friendship.

Littered with humour, the duo power their way through Popular as Glinda strives to transform Elphaba’s life.

However, the best friends reach a cross roads when they begin their adventure in the Emerald City.

The breath-taking Defying Gravity brought the first act to a close as the pair ponder on their future courses.

Hughes belted out the classic song and the stunning staging, which accompanied, left the audience on the edge of their seats.

During the second half of the show the audience are treated to hints of familiar characters including Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and The Scarecrow.

Their ‘cameos’ were greeted by chuckles from the audience as their back stories are revealed.

The visually stunning show pieces together the classic story with truly spellbinding performances from both Anderson and Hughes.

The tremendous work of the cast - in all their sparkling emerald glory - was rewarded with a standing ovation from the packed theatre.

And musical fans are in for a treat at the end of the year as Mary Poppins floats on to the stage complete with her trusty umbrella.

If this latest dose of panache from the cast of Wicked is anything to go by the city really is set for a magical show.

Wicked runs until August 21.

Caroline confident about stage debut