Wonderland an Enchanting and Magical Musical at Venue Cymru – Review
How fitting that Alice should be at Venue Cymru in Llandudno as the critically Wonderland has started its run at the theatre, we stopped by for the opening night to see how Lewis Carroll‘s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass have transcribed to being a theatrical musical.
I remember as a child reading the books and following Alice’s adventures into the strange but wonderful world of Wonderland, then, of course, the many movies including most recently with Johnny Depp, so I was really looking forward to seeing how the show would come across, after all the trailer for the show did look good.
This wonderful musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is certainly a musical that I wasn’t expecting with its fantastic music by Frank Wildhorn and Lyrics by Jack Murphy, Wonderland not only takes us down the rabbit hole to a fantastical world of mystery and magic but it brings us a twist on the story of Alice by bringing the story up to date for a modern day audience.
With Alice (played by Britain’s Got Talent’s Rachael Wooding) reaching a moment in her life and not everything going right for her, the controlling ex-husband that she believes to still love is getting re-married and her life is at a point of needing change. Her daughter Ellie (played by Naomi Morris) and their neighbour Jack (played by Stephen Webb) who adores Alice are transported to the magical world of Wonderland all thanks to the mysterious White Rabbit (played by Dave Willets).
In the enchanting land, they meet the Mad Hatter (played by Natalie McQueen), Caterpiller (played by Kayi Ushe), Cheshire Cat (played by Dominic Owen), March Hare (played by Ben Kerr) and not forgetting the Queen of Hearts (played by Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters) plus many other wild and crazy characters of Wonderland.
A Trip Down The Rabbit Hole to Wonderland
The first thing that really catches your eye during Wonderland is the size and the sets that take us on our journey with Alice, Ellie and Jack, the sets are amazingly done, from the opening scene with a huge tower block reaching to the skies to the everlasting rabbit hole that runs away into the distance of the theatre’s stage. The sets are a part of the show making it not only a delight to watch, but also make the show the magical and enchanting experience that it is.
With some amazing lighting effects added to the performance, the audience becomes part of the world that we have been taken to and have tagged along to join Alice on her adventure, this is certainly a show that has to be seen in a theatre to get the full effect of the size of the production.
The music of Wonderland is a sheer delight to listen to Frank Wildhurn has done an amazing job with the overall music of the production, with it’s upbeat tracks that lift you up to the emotional ones that make you feel for Alice and her life before and after her trip down the rabbit hole, add to that the lyrics that are beautifully written by Jack Murphy who’s book along with Gregory Boyd that the show is adapted from, this show is certainly one that hits all the right keys and allows the audience to tap their feet to the amazing tracks.
With great music and lyrics you need a cast to carry off the music and thankfully the cast of Wonderland do a fantastic job of that, Rachael Wooding is a great as Alice and her various songs worked beautifully, not just the solo tracks, but also the duets and complete cast songs, Dave Willets was a joy to listen to as the White Rabbit, Stephen Webb also put on a great performance during his parts, Naomi Morris not only put on some great musical performances but also her performance in general, I loved Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter she not only brought over the madness but also what a great performance during her musical numbers and the opening number in Act 2, I Will Prevail, was stunning.
Wendi Peters really surprised me, I’ve not heard Wendi sing before so when she started singing my breath was taken away, what an amazing singing voice and what power the voice has! Although we don’t really see that much of the Queen of Hearts in the show when we do, Wendi’s Queen was certainly the focus of attention with her flamboyant bright red outfit and her love for tarts, she was great as the character who wanted to chop off everyone’s heads, a pure joy to watch and listen to.
Wonderland Overall Thoughts
Wonderland is a show that is one of those musicals that is so much fun to watch, the music and lyrics get stuck in your head, the performances from the cast really can’t be faulted, the sets are mind-blowing and the overall feeling after the show finishes is a feeling of excitement and a smile, much like that of a Cheshire Cat, that you’ve just come out of a production that has to be shouted about.
This is a show that really shouldn’t be missed and I recommend that you go see the show while it is at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, enjoy yourselves and do as we did when the show finishes, give the cast and crew a full standing ovation to show your appreciation for a performance that deserves five out of five.
Wonderland is at Llandudno Venue Cymru from until Saturday 1 st July. Book now and don’t miss out on taking a trip down that rabbit hole.