Wonderland is currently undertaking a UK tour which runs until August 2017. The show was ﬁrst produced in America in 2011 and then transferred to Tokyo in 2012. It opened its ﬁrst UK tour at the Edinburgh Playhouse and is now playing at various venues across the country.
The show follows the story of Alice who instead of being the expected curious child is a 40-year old single mum. The show opens on her birthday where she receives news that her ex-husband is to remarry, along with her car getting stolen leading to her losing her job. This leaves her in lost place where she needs to travel on a journey to ﬁnd herself and let go of her past.
A white rabbit appears to Alice and her daughter Ellie in a somewhat unusual and strange manner, leaving the audience slightly underwhelmed. They end up following him, along with their neighbour Jack, down an abandoned lift in their apartment block. A slightly disappointing modern version of the rabbit hole to where they ultimately end up in Wonderland.
Here they encounter all the usual and expected characters from Lewis Carroll's much loved tale. However sadly this quickly becomes very episodic as each character enters and states their business before disappearing into the ensemble. This continues throughout the show and ultimately the plot is very predictable and only broke up through the poor and unmemorable songs.
However none of the above issues are down to the cast, who give their best performances throughout. Kerry Ellis wonderfully portrayed this modern version of Alice and her vocal skills were joyous to hear. Naomi Morris who played Ellie had incredible comic timing after the looking glass changed her into a stroppy teenager. Then Wendi Peters’ Queen of Hearts was pure genius but sadly the writer missed a trick and did not give this hilarious character anywhere near enough stage time.
The costumes and the set in the production are simply marvellous as are the characterisation of certain creatures such as the Cheshire Cat. Nonetheless this does not make up for the lack of plot and uninspiring soundtrack. There are deﬁantly some lovely moments and enjoyable sections in the show, however many audience members did leave the theatre disappointed with the production. This maybe, due to people having such high expectations of a show that could so easily have been fantastic. Sadly by modernising the much loved children book it has lost its charm and magical element. In its current state this show will not be one that stays around for years to come.
Reviewer: Ellie Close
Reviewed: 24th April 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★