THEATRE REVIEW: Wicked at the Sunderland Empire

Wicked at the Sunderland Empire.
Wicked at the Sunderland Empire.

I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Wizard of Oz, which is probably why I had never seen Wicked.

Described as the ‘untold story’ of the witches of Oz, I was more than a little curious as to what the show would be about – and incredibly impressed with the end result.

The musical tells the back-story of the good witch Glinda, and of her malevolent green-faced rival, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Everyone knows the witch is evil, right? Well that is exactly where this epic tale makes it’s mark, as it lets us in on a little secret - she never was evil.

Ashleigh Gray is nothing short of incredible in the role of Elphaba, with such a powerful voice, Defying Gravity left me with goosebumps.

She plays the part of the misunderstood witch who just wants to fit in, perfectly, and shares the story with Glinda the Good, who adds an unexpected humour to the proceedings.

Wicked at the Sunderland Empire.

Wicked at the Sunderland Empire.

Glinda, played by Emily Tierney, is almost a show stealer, as her one liners and funny nuances make the journey of friendship between her and Elphaba a real joy to behold.

Hearing ‘Popular’ with fresh ears was truly entertaining, and the costumes at Emerald City were truly remarkable.

And the links to the Wizard of Oz will have you questioning everything you thought you knew.

It’s not hard to see how Wicked is now the tenth longest-running show in the West End, where it continues its open ended run.

It was, in a word, wicked.

Wicked is at the Sunderland Empire until April 25.

Tickets are available now by calling 0844 871 3022 or online at www.atgtickets.com/sunderland