Theatre Review: Wonderland at the Grand Opera House Belfast

Why do we have to grow up? Face the responsibility and boredom of being an adult? Would you not love to escape into your favourite piece of fiction? Click your heels like Dorothy or join the lost boys in Neverland. It all sounds very inviting to me and it’s exactly what Alice was thinking when she fell down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.

Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy’s book came to life with a riot of colour,big stage tunes (courtesy of  the award winning Frank Wildhorn) buckets of talent and the most amazing costumes on the Grand Opera House stage this week.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of my favourite Lewis Carroll stories and this new stage show has only rekindled my love of the tale. Kerry Ellis embodies the modern day Alice with gusto, she portrays the harrassed divorcee who would do anything to escape the horror of her mundane reality. The star was pitch perfect as she filled the whole theatre space with musical numbers including the epic This is Who I am. (Musical theatre fans, to me this tune is reminiscent to Wicked’s Defying Gravity. Unsurprisingly  Ellis rocks this tune after being the original Elphaba in the West End.)

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In her fabulous knee-high blue boots Ellis takes the audience on a roller coaster of a ride encountering the unset of teenage angst on her daughter Ellie (played by the fabulously stroppy Naomi Morris) falling in love with her very quiet and meek neighbour Jack, when he has the most amazing and comedic boyband makeover (played by Stephen Webb) and being the courageous heroine bringing peace to Wonderland.

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The story grows and evolves with all your favourite Wonderland characters. Wendy Peters (best known as Cilla Battersby in Coronation street) plays the tyrannical sugar mad Queen of Hearts. The musical theatre legend that is Dave Willets plays the wise White Rabbit guiding the plot.

But my favourite character besides Alice had to be the portrayal of MH aka Mad Hatter. Natalie McQueen is an amazing power crazy Mad Hatter again with an amazing voice. The endearing love story between MH and the very cute March Hare (Ben Kerr) had me distracted  from the main story at times but in a  very good way. Add in a very smooth and soulful Caterpillar and a crazy Cheshire Cat and  a catatonic Dormouse this show was sure to be a hit.

Wonderland runs in the Grand Opera until 1st April. Grab a ticket now at http://www.goh.co.uk.

Emer D xx

 

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