Wonderland | Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

I've been super lucky to see a few shows recently, and I have really fallen in love with the Mayflower, it's the biggest theatre on the south coast with over 2,300 seats in the auditorium. The staff are always so warm and friendly, and I know I'm guaranteed to have a great evening. When I was kindly invited to see Wonderland yesterday, I honestly had no idea what to expect. There have been so many adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, that I was intrigued to see how it would be portrayed on stage.

Following sold out seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, the multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland receives its UK and European premiere in this brand new British production. Hailed by the New York Times as “inspirational”, Wonderland is an enchanting adventurous exploration musical of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives.

It follows Alice as a divorced single mother, played by Rachael Wooding at Mayflower Theatre from 18-22 April 2017. In the tradition of the best stage musicals, Wonderland boasts a catchy score full of songs by Frank Wildhorn.

After reading the press release, having many tweets telling me the show was amazing, and learning of the awards it had won and the actors they'd cast, I did have high hopes which sadly, did not live up to my personal expectations. At half time, myself and the fellow Southampton Bloggers discussed what we thought so far, and we were all a bit torn. I was very 50/50 with it. There were elements which I really enjoyed, but I mostly found it cheesy, and lacking that real magic and imagination Alice is known for.

Rachael Wooding has an exceptionally good voice however, she gave me goose bumps! No surprise as she went to the live finals of Britain's Got Talent last year, and did make a good Alice. She wasn't the only good voice however, Wendi Peters (Cilla in Coronation Street), played Queen of Hearts and was brilliant. I was disappointed she wasn't on stage more to be honest, as she was cast so well and her voice was equally as beautiful. Finally, Natalie McQueen as Mad Hatter was another huge talent. Rachael & Natalie's (Alice & Mad Hatter) duet of ‘This Is Who I Am' is a song I'd genuinely listen to over and over again. Their vocals together was amazing.

Overall, the show was very polished, I didn't spot a single mistake and the choreography with perfectly in sync. However, I found I was comparing it too closely to the original Alice story that I know and love, and therefore didn't enjoy it as much as I know others might. It's a little cheesy at times, but bright, fun and worth a watch if you'd got little ones too.

Tickets for Wonderland are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk.
*Complimentary Press Tickets.

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