SETTING the scene for one of cinema’s greatest triumphs, The Wizard Of Oz, the musical Wicked poses the question: Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?

For 10 years, the show has been casting its spell over Broadway and playing to packed houses in London — explaining how Oz’s witches became ‘Wicked’ and ‘Good’.

A young Elphaba is shunned by her new university class mates for her green skin, but popular Glinda softens to her with the pair eventually becoming friends and heading off to see the Wizard.

Seeing through the Emerald City’s bottle green facade and the Wizard’s smoke and mirrors approach to ‘ruling’, Elphaba takes it upon herself to put things right.

Nikki Davis-Jones and Emily Tierney develop such a bond as Elphie and Glinda.

Tierney plays out every possible laugh with some fantastic timing — especially in Popular, while Nikki’s transformation from angry, misunderstood teenager to woman-on-a-mission reaches a stunning climax in No Good Deed.

Any Wicked fan knows that song is a secondary highlight — Defying Gravity is the big, magical moment that even first-timers await with baited breath; this UK and Ireland tour premiere lives up to all expectations.

Plenty of people are put off by ‘tours’, thinking they will be inferior to the West End.

Leave any preconceived idea aside - this is an easy equal (at least) to London.

A superb supporting cast of principals all serve to emphasise Elphaba’s personal battle between good and wicked.

The ensemble’s energy, with some beautiful choreography, is excellent, and their costumes are so sumptuous; the show is as much a feast for the eyes as it is the ears.

Prepare to be spellbound, it’s wonderful.

  • Wicked, untilNovember 16. Box office: 08448717660