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Theatre Review: Wonderland

By Molly Hazelwood | 8th March 2017

What's On York, Theatre, Wonderland

Wonderland - currently showing at The Grand Opera House

Following on from sold out runs in Tokyo, Tampa and Texas, the Multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Wonderland has landed in the UK. Debuting at the Edinburgh Playhouse in January 2017 ahead of a 30-venue tour, last night Frank Wildhorn’s electrifying production stopped off for a week’s stay in York at the Grand Opera House. Adapted for the UK by Robert Hudson, Wonderland is wowing audiences across the country. A modern reimagining of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, Wildhorn’s Alice is going through a mid-life crisis and Wonderland is her escape from reality.

The energetic company, led by Rachael Wooding as Alice, take us down the rabbit hole into a psychedelic dreamscape where Alice, her daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) and downstairs neighbour Jack (Stephen Webb) are confronted by the madness of Wonderland. Intriguingly, it teaches them to be who they truly are even when in doubt and that you should be grateful for what you have in the world. Even though the story itself is a little convoluted and the lyrics are clichéd, the cast does an excellent job with strong performances and some laugh-out-loud moments. The set had a kaleidoscope quality of spirals and shapes; the burst of colours from the lighting gave a dizzy effect to the staging- as you would expect from Wonderland.

However, the stand out performance is from a superlative Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter with extraordinary vocals and consistent delivery.

Rachael Wooding, famous for having almost 9 million views of her audition on Britain’s got talent, plays a strong lead character with a powerful voice. Dave Willets portrays a wise White Rabbit in contrast to the fraught, jumpy original character. He is a reminder of reality and the fact that while the characters are in Wonderland, the real world is waiting. As the Queen of Hearts, Wendi Peters who is well known as Cilla Battersby Brown in Coronation Street, is sassy and a diva with an impressive range. However, the stand out performance is from a superlative Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter with extraordinary vocals and consistent delivery.

All in all, Wonderland delivers an energetic journey through a magical medley of catchy tunes and a story of love, life and self discovery. Well worth a watch!

Wonderland is showing at The Grand Opera House York until Sat 11 March. Tickets available here.

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