Wicked at Bristol Hippodrome: Only one month into 2024 and Wicked is already contender for show of the year

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It has already sold 60,000 tickets but more seats have just been released 

The fact that the Hippodrome has already sold over 60,000 tickets is testament to the enduring appeal of Wicked.

Based on the Gregory Maguire novel, it tells an imagined backstory of the pre-Wizard of Oz lives of Glinda The Good and the green-skinned Wicked Witch of The West - that's the one who was killed by a bucket of water in the classic film.

With songs by Stephen Schwartz (best known for Godspell), Wicked is one of the most popular musicals of recent years and it’s the 11th longest-running production in West End theatre history.

Wicked has now started a five-week season at Bristol Hippodrome in a year that marks the 20th anniversary of its Broadway premiere and the release of a new film version starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande.

It tells the story of two young students who meet at Shiz university and graduate to the world of Oz where the Wizard has started to oppress the talking animals, including a kind-hearted goat professor.

Spoilt and preening blonde bimbo Glinda doesn’t get on with shy, emerald-skinned Elphaba at first - she's too busy loving herself - but their mutual loathing and distrust soon makes way for a deep and special friendship. At least, that’s until handsome prince Fiyero (played by Carl Man) appears on the scene.

There is a Hogwarts look to the set for Shiz university and a Harry Potter-ish innocence to Elphaba in the early scenes, which must add to the appeal of younger members of the audience.

The songs come thick and fast and although the show runs to two hours and 45 minutes including the interval, it never drags.

Fantastic costumes - all 350 of them - as well as magical lighting and effects plus a 14-piece orchestra brings the full-on West End experience to the Bristol stage and there is strong support from the ensemble throughout.

As The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond, Emmerdale and Coronation Street star Simeon Truby offers a masterclass in musical theatre comic timing, especially during the song Wonderful.

Sarah O’Connor brings plenty of humour to the airhead character of Glinda and she has a fantastic voice, best showcased on the ear-worm song Popular.

But it’s broom-flying Laura Pick as Elphaba who offers a genuine powerhouse performance.

Her belting rendition of standout song Defying Gravity may not have literally taken the Hippodrome roof off, but I’m sure people outside the theatre could have easily heard it.

Together, O’Connor and Pick clearly have a fantastic working relationship and it shows in every scene - as well as the curtain call which they took together, hand-in-hand, rather than individually.

Only one month into 2024 and Wicked is already contender for the Hippodrome show of the year. It’s popularity is enough to make other shows green with envy.

Wicked is at Bristol Hippodrome until February 25. For tickets, go to atgtickets.com/Bristol Scroll through for more pictures from the show:

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