IT’S a well-known fact that there are two sides to every story, and although it may have taken 95 years for the other side of the Wicked Witch of the West to reach us, one stage musical is continuing to break down the barriers to bring us her side of the story.

And what a story it is too.

Thought you knew the status quo in the land of Oz? Think again. Every child fan of Judy Garland’s now infamous performance in the 1939 film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is probably kicking themselves for jumping to conclusions about the green-skinned antagonist of L Frank Baum’s 1900 novel.

And in this day and age of fake news, it’s a stark reminder that all is not always as it seems.

Since its 2003 debut on Broadway, Wicked has been a runaway success, and just goes to prove that while everyone loves a villain, they love a good conspiracy even more. Set in the run up to, during and after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas, this musical flips the narrative on its head, throwing in a number of rousing musical numbers along the way for good measure.

More than 55,000 people have already bought tickets for the musical as the year-long UK and Ireland tour arrives in Bristol for its five week run, proving that despite the musical now being in its 12th year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it continues an open-ended run, that there is still an awful lot of love out there for one of the 20th century’s most misunderstood and maligned characters.

Amy Ross is a vocal powerhouse to be reckoned with in the role of Elphaba, a role that comes with big shoes to fill thanks to Idina Menzel’s opening performances back in 2003, while Helen Woolf’s Glinda The Good made this a duo with real on-stage chemistry, and the vocal range to boot.

The cheers were ringing out long before the lights went out on the rousing end of the first act which saw the now famed musical number Defying Gravity belted out by Ross, while the musical’s final number earned the cast a standing ovation.

But it wasn’t just famous faces on the stage at Thursday night’s press night, which saw the Hippodrome pull in a number of well-known figures from the world of showbiz including Noel Edmonds, Nick Knowles, celebrity chef Dean Edwards, X Factor star Jake Sims and CBeebies presenter Andy Day.

Wicked is at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, March 3. - Stephen Davy-Osborne