Well isn’t this exciting? I’ve never reviewed a show or musical before which is crazy, seeing as I’m a musical theatre student. Last night I attended the press night of ‘Wonderland’ at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. I took my mum along with me and not really knowing what to expect- I enjoyed it. Now, a bit of a disclaimer. I am a musical theatre student, a massive theatre fan and a performer myself so my views may be harsher that the average person just looking for some entertainment.
‘Wonderland’ is a musical based on the classic story of Alice and Wonderland, with a modern twist. It opens with Alice, a middle aged mum of 1, having the worst day and she ends up following a rabbit down a hole! Along comes the classic cliche nerdy boyfriend who follows- of course he turns out to be hot later on. The story line, for me, is very simple and would be suitble for kids. It’s a laid back watch, which has some inspiring moments of love and family. I personally think some of the dialouge and motivational quotes are a bit generic but the moments of comedy from the supporting roles do out weigh this.
Kerry Ellis, as expected, was magical. I’ve never seen her in a show before and I was very excited! After all, she was the first Elphaba on the West End. I have to say, there were a few moments and notes she sang that took me RIGHT to the Emerald City- but that’s what happens when you have played a very iconic role. She has a flawless, powerful and rocky voice which suited the songs perfectly. Her duet with Jack, played by Steven White, was lovely with some unexpected harmonies and dynamics.
The style of the music was classic musical theatre, with all the tricks and turns that you’d expect from a musical. The talent from the main characters was very promient. I was particularly impressed with The Mad Hatter’s voice. Natalie Mcqueen, who played the role, stole the show for me. After some research I found out she was 1st cover Elphaba which I can completly see her doing. She had the most stunning, strong belt and gave me goosebumps. If you’re a singer- she belted a F# which I thought was pretty impressive. Listen to THIS to get an idea of her voice The rest of the characters were really good and I enjoyed the songs- nothing REALLY remeberable though I have to say.
I’m not a dancer so there’s not much I can say. There was a tap number thrown in which was good, really tight and pretty technicalally difficult. There were 4 female ensemble members (they followed the catapillar) who were really good dancers, very flexible and great performers. No one else really stood out to me but it’s not really a ‘dancey’ musical.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The whole musical, concept, set, costume etc was amazing and a really high quality but something was distracting me- the ensemble. I’ve been in enesembles for many shows and I appreciate how important they are for the overall experience ,but in my opinion the ensemble should be there to enrich and enhance the story line. There were a few memebers of the ensemble ( I won’t name names) who I literally couldn’t take my eyes off but for the WORST reasons. One male looked like he didn’t know any of the words and one particular female character was one step behind in EVERYTHING.
The only reason I mention this is because this is a proffessional production and I’d expect everyone to be up to scratch, looking like they knew what they were doing. It’s a shame because the rest of the cast were so tight, so talented and you could tell they loved their jobs.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this. To see the the vocal talent in front of me made me so inspired and I want to get straight back to uni on onto the stage. It was visually appealing and fun to watch. I would reccomend it if you like fun, lighthearted musicals and you want to see a legend performing. Other things to note were that the queen of hearts was played by Wendi Peters from Corrie, but what’s a touring production without a soap star.
I came away from this muscial feeling inspired, happy and whole- what more could you want?! Wonderland is on from the 31st of May to the 4th of June and you can buy tickets here.
I was kindly invited to review this musical but all opinions are 100% my own. Includes no affliate links. Photos are stock photos from musical or my own.