Review – Wonderland
Bristol Hippodrome – until May 13th
My rating – 7/10
Wonderland is a musical based upon Alice In Wonderland. It stars Kerry Elis, as Alice. Kerry played Elphaba in the original British cast of Wicked and is a fantastic performer with an amazing voice. She’s joined by Wendi Peters, of Coronation street fame, as the Queen of Hearts. Dave Willets as the white rabbit and Stephen Webb as Jack, Alice’s neighbour who has a secret crush on her.
Wonderland incorporates aspects of Alice In Wonderland, and Alice Through The Looking Glass. Alice is all grown up, turning 40, and still struggling to accept her not so recent divorce. She’s having a terrible birthday during which she recieves her final divorce papers, loses her job and has her car stolen. So Alice decides she doesn’t want to live in the real world anymore. Cue the White Rabbit’s entrance and he leads her, her teenage daughter and Jack into Wonderland.
They all have changes they feel they need to make. Alice needs to learnt that she is capable and can stand on her own two feet. Her daughter needs to let loose a little and act her age, instead of trying to be the grown up. Jack wants to be a hero. Fortunately in Wonderland there is a looking glass which can help them to make these changes. Once through the looking glass you reappear a new version of you.
Unfortunately I didn’t love the show. It has definite highs but isn’t consistently good.
The visit to Wonderland starts out promisingly with a wonderful number where they meet the caterpillar, played by Kayi Ushe. Using some members of the ensemble as his additional legs to perform a soulful and funky song and dance which made me want to get up and join in.
I particularly enjoyed Natalie Mcqueen’s Mad Hatter, who enters the looking glass and comes back determined to overthrow the queen of hearts and rule Wonderland because ‘that’s how power works’.
I could have lived without Dominic Owen as the Cheshire Cat, having given it some thought I would describe his performance as a cross between Alan Carr and Bernard from black books, he threw himself around the stage and it was all a little strange. Plus call me traditional but the Cheshire Cat is pink and purple, not blue.
Wendi Peters deranged Queen of Hearts was fun and her physicality of the character was delightful. Then she sang and her voice hit the rafters, what a powerhouse.
I found Wonderland entertaining and enjoyed my evening. I would recommend it for children aged six upwards. If you would like to see it tour details can be found here.