I was invited along to The Mayflower along with the Soton Bloggers last night to the opening night of Wonderland* on its UK and European premier. I am both a massive Musical Theatre and Disney fan so was overly excited for this show the minute I received the invite.
Wonderland is an enchanting musical adaption of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ‘ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’. It is absolutely bonkers, full of cheese and all the good stuff that you expect from a musical. It will have you wishing to go to wonderland yourself!
It is set in modern day with divorced, single mum Alice, played by Rachel Wooding, hopelessly in love with her controlling a** of an ex-husband, her cars been broken into and she’s just been fired from her job. Life is getting all to much for Alice who desperately wants to leave the ‘real world’ and is in all honesty a little lost.
“Every adventure requires a first step…”
The journey begins with Alice’s daughter ‘Ellie’, played by Naomi Morris, chasing a bunny rabbit into an ‘out of order’ lift. Alice along with her hopelessly, shy, romantic neighbour – Jack, played by Stephen Webb – decide to take the plunge into the lift, not realising the adventure they were about to embark on.
Alice, Ellie and Jack are greeted with the much adored characters that we all remember The Cheshire cat played by the fantastic Dominic Owne, one of my favourite characters – the Caterpillar – played by Kayt Ushe, the biggest diva in Wonderland The Queen of Hearts herself, played by a Coronation Street Star Wendi Peters and of course the amazingly talented Natalie McQueen who played the Mad Hatter. It was a truly star packed cast, amazing choreography and outstanding singers. I couldn’t quite believe it when the Mad Hatter started to belt out her first solo ‘The Mad Hatter’… what a voice!
As I said, I am a massive musical fan and love the non stop singing, cheese balls but even this was a little OTT for me with cheesy craziness. From cheesy boybands ‘One Knight’ to the overly gushy mother and daughter song ‘Once more I can see’ at the end. It was full to the brim of musical cheesiness… Although, I really did enjoy the group ensembles such as ‘welcome to wonderland’ and the band were incredible, as expected.
The costumes and set design were all equally as wacky as the performance. I am always so fascinated by the stage transformations for each production I see at the Mayflower and I am never disappointed. The last show I saw there was Billy elliot and from the northern mining town and ballet hall it was magically transformed into the whacky land of Wonderland, you are taken from a block of dingy grey flats down an old lift, through the rabbit hole and into a colourful land of craziness, complete with the looking glass and green hedges.
Overall it was a great show, you have to go in with an open mind and be prepared for a whole lot of crazy! It is a good laugh and the cast are incredible. Its a completely different, inventive spin on a classic story with some fantastic music brought to life on the stage.
Wonderland is on at The Mayflower, Southampton from the 18th of April-22nd April. You can get your tickets online here! Or phone the Mayflower Box Office on 02380 71181
Thanks to the cast of Wonderland a thoroughly entertaining show and to the Mayflower for having me again.
*Complimentary Press ticket and photographs from the Mayflower Theatre for review purposes.