Reviewed by Jan Mellor
Wonderland is the stage production of the combined Lewis Carroll novels ‘Alice’s adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the looking glass’. This inspirational adaption worked really well in portraying these stories and adapting them to modern day life.
As a move from the books Alice is a grown-up and a mum (of daughter Ellie). She has an unhappy life with bad luck (losing her job, getting car stolen) happening in the first scene on Alice’s birthday. Daughter Ellie and doting neighbour Jack are both there to support her but she is oblivious to this. On meeting the white rabbit and being taken to ‘Wonderland’ the three are transported (by very clever stage design) through the rabbit hole (via a lift) to the amazing land of wonder. The audience were transfixed and the colours, costumes, incredible voices and melody of magical songs transported them through the journey of despondence to magic.
There were some moments of pure genius – the caterpillar was inspirational as was the transformation of the Mad Hatter and of introverted Jack (who became an absolute stud!). It was difficult to pick out a ‘shining star’ as the cast were all so very talented with impeccable timing, dance moves and voices – but the caterpillar with his raunchy moves singing ‘Who are you?’ and the melodies from the white rabbit – singing ‘I am my own invention’ have stayed with me. One of the great surprises was the amazing voice of Wendi Peters – who played the Queen of Hearts and is best known for playing in ‘Corrie’. She sang very punchy songs and ‘off with their heads’ at the end of the second scene was classic. The passion from all the cast, their amazing talent and the joy of being transported from our mundane and stressful lives to a world when you can be ‘the other you’ through passing through the looking glass was genius and the performers Dave Willletts, Kerry Ellis, Stephen Webb, Kayi Ushe and all should be very proud of what they have achieved.
This is a great evening’s entertainment, with a talented cast, amazing sets and memorable songs (having been made to buy the CD of the soundtrack straight away by my 12-year-old son). You are transported to their ‘Wonderland’ with ease and the clever costumes (Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar etc.), perfection of the ensemble and touching story of love and adventure transported us all to the magical world of make believe and ‘Wonder’.
Tickets cost from £14.90 to £50.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Wonderland is at the Liverpool Empire from 12-17 June 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017