Love a Good Play: wonder.land
November 27, 2015 — Olivier Theatre, NT London
I loved it. Shocked? Yes, so was I. It reminded me of the only other musical I have loved start to finish, Matilda the Musical — clever, witty, big costumes with another gloriously evil Head Teacher — Miss Trunchbowl has some competition. Alice Manxome/The Queen is magnificent. Her first act song “I’m right” is superbly written with some exceptionally clever word play. In the second half — right, contrite and shite are all rhymed to marvellous effect.
This is a brilliantly relevant, modern, digital take on the classic story of Alice and the central theme remains Alice on a quest to discover who she is. We’ve all been there — some of us are still trying to figure it out. It’s a huge question — Who are you? This time the rabbit hole is a smartphone.
Alice joins the game wonder.land and meets a group of people who are like her — being bullied, hating themselves, looking for acceptance, looking for kindness. Unfortunately it all goes tragically wrong when Miss Maxnone looks to explore who she really is within the game. Too much malice in her Alice.
This is joyous, funny, witty and clever — Moira Buffini’s words are brilliant. The costume design is sumptuous — the caterpillar got a spontaneous round of applause when it appeared on stage.
Some adults may need to get back up to speed on their Alice — I overheard one guy at half time asking what the point of the White Rabbit is…? Dude.
My favourite bits — Miss Manxome’s I’m right song — I laughed a lot. And the Mad Hatter’s tea party. I want that giant teapot.
There was only one scene at the end where I felt there was a little too much going on on-stage and it needed simplifying — but in discussions after I’m reliably informed it felt like a game. #seniormoment
From Dec 2, there’s an immersive digital experience at the NT to allow us all to fall down the rabbit hole. I’ll see you there — my avatar will most likely be drinking tea.
4.5/5 A wonderful rabbit hole to fall down.