What could be more wicked on Friday 13th than hanging out with some some witches?
Not just any old witches but the Wicked Witch of the West herself and her frenemy, Glinda the Good.
These pair of famous witches are brought to life by talented locals Bailee Twomey (Elphaba) and Tiffany Wilkinson (Glinda), stars of Tauranga Musical Theatre's new production, Wicked, which opens at Baycourt Theatre Tauranga tonight.
As soon as we enter Baycourt's foyer enhanced with green lighting we feel like we are in for a thrilling night.
From the moment the curtain goes up on the land of Oz, revealing a dazzling Glinda 'defying gravity' as she descends from the sky in a huge bubble, we are spellbound.
The story of the Wizard of Oz is engraved on all our minds, but the award-winning Wicked musical tells the back tale of what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy dropped in, focusing on the characters of wicked witch Elphaba and good witch Glinda.
Rather than a straightforward morality tale of good versus evil, this story makes you question stereotypes, revealing that there are two sides to every story.
The lead actresses command the stage, through sophisticated acting and incredible singing, they tell a poignant story of friendship, touching on themes as bullying, racism, popularity contests, growing to be comfortable in one's own skin and doing what is right - no matter how hard it is.
Such themes mean the musical has over the years garnered a huge following of not just adults but teenage fans, particularly girls.
The group of teenagers I was with declared their favourite scene when Elphaba and Glinda bond in their dormitory at sorcery school - with Glinda's instruction of how to be popular, flicking your hair just right, disturbingly relevant than ever in our Instagram-crazed world.
Throughout the show, the two actresses take us on a journey as Glinda evolves from a bubbly, somewhat shallow and sheltered young girl to a strong, kind and empathetic woman, and Elphaba too wins over the audience making us question the word 'Wicked' and how we judge people.
The power of the musical is that it handles these quite heavy themes in such an entertaining way - there is laugh out loud comedy, but also moments that will bring you to tears - like when Elphaba sings That Girl, later taken up by Glinda, and their duet For Good had a number in the audience wiping eyes.
The two women command a score of quite complex songs amazingly - hitting notes that also defy gravity - as we left I heard a number of people talking in awe about the spectacular singing.
It is not just Twomey and Wilkinson who dazzle us - the whole cast is spectacular.
Tessa Olsen is particularly impressive as Elphaba's sister Nessarose, poignantly conveying her tragic situation as she tries to win the love of Boq - also beautifully emotionally played by Jonty Climo.
Bailey Hocking at just 16 playing Fiyero is surely a talent to watch. Natalie Wright is outstanding as Madame Morrible, and the whole ensemble filled the stage with infectious energy - a nod to the expert coaching of choreographer Dani Miller and vocal director Elise Rohde, and of course the expert guidance of director Russell Dixon.
The costumes are absolutely wonderful, with enough stylish costume changes to entertain us in their own right - they were another main talking point in the foyer afterwards. The magical sets are splendid with special effects handled with expert professionalism.
My normally supercritical crew of teens declared the show "the best they had ever seen in Tauranga".
Don't miss this amazing production, you will not be disappointed. In fact it was so good and there is so much going on in the show that I might even go again!
Not only will you have a great night, but supporting the arts ensures we continue to be delighted by such large scale productions here in Tauranga. Tauranga Musical Theatre is acknowledging this support donating a $1 from every programme sold to the 4Good Charitable Trust, an organisation which helps those in need in our community.
As director Russell Dixon told the audience at the beginning, quoting Winston Churchill who when asked to cut arts to fund the war, he asked, without arts what are we fighting for?
Thank you the cast and crew of Wicked for a superbly told tale of the human condition - the show leaves you thinking long after it has ended. As all great art does, it not only entertains us but changes us, as Elphaba and Glinda sing so beautifully:
"You'll be with me,
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have re-written mine,
By being my friend."
Wicked continues until September 28
Venue: Baycourt Community & Arts Centre, Durham Street, Tauranga
Date: September 14 to 28