Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Wonderland | The Mayflower Theatre
I mean, who doesn't love Alice in Wonderland and all the wonderful films and productions that have come from the iconic girl that fell down a rabbit hole. I may have done a little happy dance when I found out the production us SotonBloggers had been invited to was *Wonderland, a musical adaption of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.
Wonderland was calling out to me as a must see, anything described as a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder will catch my attention. I was brought up on fairy tales and wonder, and the magic has never left me. Obviously I was super pumped to go and see what Wonderland was offering.
They have an exceptional cast for this production full of many names known in the theatre world. Rachael Wooding as Alice, Wendi Peter's plays the Queen of Hearts, Dave Willetts as White Rabbit, Stephen Webb as Jack / White Knight, Natalie McQueen as Mad Hatter, Kayi Ushe as Caterpillar, Dominic Owen as Cheshire Cat, Ben Kerr as March Hare, Carolyn Maitland as Alternate Alice / Mad Hatter. With many more people taking to the stage as well. Also having a catchy score full of songs from Frank Wildhorn, who has written many pop hits and theatre classics too.
Wonderland is produced by Neil Eckersley, lyrics by Jack Murphy, book by Gregory Bond and Jack Murphy with the UK adaption by Ava Eldred. Directed by Lotte Wakeham with musical supervision from Jason Howland who have both been involved in West End and Broadway productions. Choreography is by Lucie Pankhurst, set design by Andrew Riley, Costume design by Grace Smart and light design by Nick Richings. All of the talented people have been involved in big productions so obviously we all went in with high hopes.
Alice in Wonderland has always been a fond memory of my childhood, and if I'm honest, Wonderland did not live up to the reputation at all. There was very little wonder there, nor was it as magical as described. It wasn't all bad, but it also wasn't all good. We all normally meet up after the show and talk about our thoughts, usually we all leave excited but yesterday we left more deflated than anything. There's so much you could do off the back of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, there's so much room for imagination, wonder and magic as well as a whole lot of madness. To me, it just didn't portray it.
I have to say, they are extremely lucky to have Natalie McQueen playing Mad Hatter because she well and truly stole the show. Everything about her was stand out to me, from her voice to facial expressions. She crushed it, and I'm so glad she did. In our post show meet, the only character we all said we were impressed with, was the Mad Hatter. So, mad hats off to her!
Another thing that stood out to me was Jack / white knight. I don't know if going through the looking glass was a mistake for him because he instantly became a cringe fest. I mean, he ended up singing with a 'boy band' that I can only describe a medieval westlife but then again, are they in the right time to portray a medieval boy band? I have no idea, but it screamed Pantomime to me
I did say it wasn't all bad, the casts singing voices were absolutely amazing, every single one of them. The costume as well was pretty eye catching. I think the Dormouse stood out the most, full of pom pom's and frills and the added touch of a pillow as a bag for all those necessary naps as a Dormouse. Caterpillar played by Kayi Ushe was also a stand out costume, along with the girls that played Caterpillars legs. And their musical number was great too. But once again, the Mad Hatter stole the show with her through the looking glass transformation, turning into some sassy, punk rock, Gaga / Gwen Stefani esque character.
There was good and there was bad all rolled in together, I may have personally left a little disappointed, but all the little kids running by with bright eyes seemed to enjoy it. There are definitely some unforgettable moments in there.
Wonderland will be showing at The Mayflower Theatre from 18th-22nd of April.
Once again, a big thanks to Mayflower Theatre for having us along and to Alice setting up these wonderful events for SotonBloggers.
*Press pictures provided by Mayflower Theatre
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