New Wimbledon Theatre Tues 2nd – Sat 6th May. Reviewed By Jessica Brady
Wonderland: it was exactly that and more. Sitting in my seat eagerly awaiting the curtain up moment surrounded by a plethora of famous faces, I had no idea what to expect and I was excited.
We start in a very different place than the infamous Wonderland, rather a council block of flats, dull and dismal. Alice (Kerrie Ellis) is not having a good day, in fact it’s so bad we are straight in with the first musical number of the show ‘Worst day’. Alice is stuck in a frustrating world where everything seems to be against her, she can’t move on and she can’t let go of her ex husband and the hope of him returning, despite getting notified of his marriage to a new partner. Alice’s teenage daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) is older than her years and has become more of a parent role to Alice instead of the other way around. The Next door neighbour, Jack (Stephen Webb), is very fond of Alice, even though Alice doesn’t really have much thought for him, however she comes to rely on him when Ellie gets led astray by a large white rabbit (David Willetts) into a broken elevator and transported to Wonderland, then the fun begins.
The stage bursts into colour and fun with a visually stunning (if not a little trippy) set and revamped modern look costumes for all the characters of the well known Lewis Carroll classic. The story develops into saving the current residents of Wonderland from the tyrannical Queen of Hearts (Wendi Peters) and Alice rediscovering the old her. This mission of course doesn’t come without its challenges, Ellie, Jack and the Mad Hatter (Natalie McQueen) all go through the looking glass, turning them into the opposite versions of themselves which in the Mad Hatters case is very dangerous indeed. The Mad Hatter along with Ellie’s help hatches a plan to over throw the Queen, but the Mad Hatter goes power crazy and turns Wonderland into a well oiled hat making chain, forcing all the residents to do the work.
The cast in this show are unbelievably good, with every bit of energy being put into the characterisation of these well known and loved characters. This will be the 6th time I have seen Kerry Ellis in a show and she is still as sensational as the first time I saw her back in 2006 in Miss Saigon. Her voice is crisp and effortless and I thought she was perfect in this motherly take on Alice. Wendi Peter’s was hilariously funny as the Queen Of Hearts despite not actually being in the show as much as I had hoped, she was still a scene stealer and has a really great number in the show ‘Hail the Queen’ which you couldn’t help but bop along to. For me the standout star in this show is Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter. This girl’s voice is insane, she is absolutely mesmerising to watch and each number she had in the show had me flawed. I loved her characterisation and would honestly go see this again just for her! A special mention should go to Naomi Morris as Ellie, a really collected and wonderful performance and had me laughing out loud at points. I could go on and mention what I loved about all the characters as they were all done so well, even down to the ensemble, but all I will say is go see it and let yourself be swept into the mad world of Wonderland.
This is a fantastic musical with a really interesting and energetic score. There are some great numbers that will leave you feeling uplifted and perhaps a little crazy afterwards, but surely that’s what Wonderland should be. Go catch Wonderland and have fun, let your mind wander in the craziness of the show and prepare to be amazed.