I recall seeing the flyer for Wonderland early last year so it felt a long time coming in seeing this production at The Churchill Theatre this week, where I was invited to review the show.
Wonderland is a modern adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. It tells the story of Alice, played by West End legend Kerry Ellis, a mum who is at her wits end with her failing life and who doesn’t know how to change. She lives with her daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris). Following a brief meeting with her neighbour Jack (Stephen Webb), they find themselves in an out of use lift and stepping into the magical world of Wonderland. Not your everyday story…
On their travels they meet a White Rabbit (Dave Willetts), a caterpillar (Kayi Ushe), a cheshire cat (Dominic Owen) and the Mad Hatter (Michelle Pentecost) to name but a few! Whilst there, Alice, Ellie and Jack have to decide whether they wish to go through the looking glass which uncovers the hidden side of themselves. Wonderland is ruled by the Queen of Hearts, played the delightful Wendi Peters, known for Coronation Street. Alice and her friends need to try and save the day and to get them home safely.
There are a mixture of songs in Wonderland, some memorable and some not so. ‘I am My Own Invention’ was a rather poignant song, as well as ‘This Is Who I Am’. Some of the musical numbers whilst may have generated some fun and laughter into the show, felt out of place with the other songs.
Whilst the story was fairly obvious at times, I struggled to understand where the show was placed. At times it embraced a strong ‘rock’ theme but at others it then poked fun at the story and it is for this reason that I didn’t fully invest in this story as it seemed a little blurred about what truly Wonderland was.
Kerry Ellis stood out as I knew she would and her amazing vocal abilities are heard in the opening number ‘Worst Day’, although it isn’t until Act 2 that the audience hears even more of her vast vocal range. It had the hairs on my neck on end! Wendi Peters plays the Queen of Hearts with sheer perfection and has been cast in this part extremely well and her presence is felt as well as her fantastic vocals too. She does make munching on a jam tart extremely good fun too!
Wonderland is a good musical that is worth seeing for the casting and you will enjoy a good night out at the theatre. It continues playing at The Churchill Theatre until Saturday 18th March and then continues its UK tour. Tickets can be purchased here.