Lois Chimimba (Aly), Carly Bawden (Alice), Hal Fowler (MC), Anna Francolini (Ms Manxome), Enyi Okoronkwo (Luke Laprel), Golda Rocheuvel (Bianca), Paul Hilton (Matt). More details here.
This musical is a re-imagined version of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is now ‘Aly’ (a teenage schoolgirl) who falls down ‘the rabbit hole’ (her phone screen) into a game called wonder.land. The plot, which flips between reality and cyber space, is sparsely about finding oneself.
I liked the piece’s innovative (and wholly relevant) premise, but it’s not a showstopping musical. The music, created by Blur front man Damon Albarn, is unmemorable and often bland. The lyrics, penned by Moira Buffini, are clunky, repetitive, and do little to forward the plot (or aid character understanding).
The plot itself is somewhat confusing. But I can’t decide whether it’s meant to be that way to resemble the whole ‘finding oneself’ theme – I think they kind of get away with it!
This Production of wonder.land
This production provides a visually stunning experience with a bright set that fits well within the technological nature of the plot. Projections and robotic set pieces are used throughout, giving the production a very hi-tech aura. What the show lacks in terms of musical substance it makes up for in this area.
The cast is strong, the standout performance being Carly Bawden’s portrayal of ‘cyber’ Alice who switches from being sickly sweet to, well, the opposite in a short space of time. The production also includes some wonderfully modern choreography, particularly from an oddly familiar white cyber rabbit!
My Verdict on wonder.land
Take a punt on a cheap ticket. This musical has an interesting concept and excellent production values that lend themselves to an enjoyable experience. Sadly, the music and coherence of the plot aren’t quite up to par.
On appearance this musical is suitable for a younger audience, in my opinion, that’s not the case. Swear words are used at various points and some mild sexually suggestive language is included. Further, the music doesn’t lend itself to the attention span of the very young, but the production’s strong visuals may keep some entertained. I give wonder.land a rating of 2/5.
You can now experience the Songs from Wonder.land* on CD!