Theatre review – Wonderland – Princess Theatre Torquay

Posted by: on Jun 7, 2017 | No Comments

Wonderland – Frank Wildhorn’s musical reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice tales Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, the story of a girl falling down a rabbit hole into a kingdom of crazy characters such as the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Queen of Hearts is given a contemporary twist to reflect modern life getting the better of us all.

Wonderland Princess Theatre Torquay

Kayi Ushe as the Caterpillar in Wonderland

Alice, played on this leg of the shows UK tour by Britain’s Got Talent 2016 finalist Rachael Wooding is a 40 something single Mum struggling to accept her situation. She’s too busy obsessing about her ex to take much notice of the her doting but bashful neighbour Jack (Stephen Webb) and it’s her young daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) who has to shake some sense into her on the day she loses her job, not too much sense though as the three, mother, daughter and Jack encounter the White Rabbit (Dave Willetts) and take the downward trip to Wonderland in a broken elevator.

After the initial full Wonderland cast number Alice et al proceed to take Advice from a Caterpillar (and it’s cast of legs), do the Cat Shoe Shuffle with the Chehire Cat and pals, then meet the marvellously drole Looking Glass, which is when the pace hots up. The central themes of self-identity and changing one’s self have been explored and one by one our threesome must pass through the looking glass to become their alter egos. This leads to one of the shows highlights as mild mannered Jack engages full boyband character and performs a blasting rendition of One Knight along with his Knights.

We move on to meet more Wonderland characters at the daily tea party presided over by the Mad Hatter (Natalie McQueen) then meet the Queen (Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters) who dominates the stage with a surprisingly strong singing voice and a very strident and bossy characterisation – shame we don’t see more of her!

Alice too passes through the looking glass and proceeds to fall in love with Jack. The Mad Hatter follows suit and Wonderland is turned on it’s head as she becomes the villain when the perpetual tea party comes to an end and the inhabitants of Wonderland are set to work in the hat factory!

Life back in the real world now seems far more attractive than Wonderland but before making their escape Alice, Jack and Ellie decide to make good, the Mad Hatter returns to her former self and people power decrees no more beheadings for the Queen!

Overall the bold musical numbers are carried off by a capable cast and the show makes for a great feel-good night out and is suitable for all ages.

On at the Princess Theatre Torquay until Saturday (Matinees Wednesday and Saturday) TICKETS HERE