By Julie Wallis twitter.com/Nicenic63
Wonderland at New Alexandra Theatre
Wonderland, the Alice in wonderland inspired musical is at the New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 11th February and it is indeed WONDERFUL. A brand new classic was born right before my eyes last night. Much like Evita or Les Miserables, this show should run for ever.
The story is very like the original, in as much as Alice visits Wonderland, encounters many strange characters from the Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter to the White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts but it is also very different in as much as it is set in modern times, Alice is an adult who is unhappy with her life and the real world and Alice visits Wonderland with her daughter Ellie and neighbour Jack.
Five years divorced, and still hoping her ex husband will one day want her back, Alice lives in a tower block of flats with her daughter, having the worst day ever Alice manages to have her car stolen, lose her job and drop her keys down a drain. This start had me thinking this was going to be a gritty, contemporary take on the original but very soon Alice, Ellie and Jack find themselves in the mayhem that is Wonderland and from there on the magic of this production really starts.
I absolutely loved this take on the traditional story, the characters we know from Lewis Carroll are all here. Alice (Kerry Ellis) has an awesome and powerful voice as well as looking the part Kerry really lets rip with some belting songs, there is no mistaking you are at a musical theatre production. The Caterpillar (Kayi Ushe) sings a beautifully soft jazz soulful bluesy song with a voice that sounds like melted chocolate.
The Cheshire Cat (Dominic Owen) is a cat worthy of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats the musical, he is funny and very feline and I loved him and his cat friends. The White Rabbit (Dave Willetts) is a delight, his acting really had me believe I was watching a 6-foot talking rabbit, the spectacular looking Glass is a frustrated yet funny therapist voiced by John Finmere, Alice’s daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) plays a truly convincing teenager, Jack (Stephen Webb) is a perfect hero, the Queen of hearts (Wendi Peters) is the perfect Queen and finally the Mad Hatter, oh wow! Natalie McQueen so very much reminded me of Bette Midler, I loved her voice, her stage presence, her character, just everything.
This is a truly stunning show, the singing is sublime and the dancing is at times breathtaking. I had goosebumps at one point. With beautiful sets and magical lighting that really does take you down the rabbit hole to Wonderland I could go on and on but I am supposed to sum this up in 400 words, oops. Every character is beautifully portrayed and there is not one weak actor in the entire show.
Many thanks to the New Alexandra Theatre for a superb evening, I loved this show and I think this version of Wonderland will be playing somewhere for many years. Wonderland gets a massive thumbs up from me, I highly recommend you try to catch this.
Book tickets to Wonderland here: atgtickets.com/shows/wonderland/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
Julie was invited to see Wonderland by New Alexandra Theatre on behalf of #BrumHour. This is her own view.