21 January 2016

Theatre: Wonder.land at The National Theatre


Wonder.land is the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland as you've never seen it before.  This musical adaptation takes this Victorian tale and brings it bang into the middle of the 21st century.  In this version, rather than going down a rabbit hole to Wonderland, Alice (or AlyPaly23 as her online persona is known) finds an online role-playing game called Wonder.land.  Soon she creates an avatar that is the exact opposite of her, the perfect escape for her problems at school and at home.  But when the online presence is more appealing than your real one, when does it go too far?

A visual spectacular, that is the best way of describing this performance.  In their typical style, The National Theatre have managed to combine two over used themes, Alice in Wonderland and Children's addiction to technology, and create something actually unique.  This could so easily have been cheesy, but what was created was something new and innovative.  The same goes for the characterisation, how many times have we seen adaptations of Characters from these famous books?  Yet ere the characters and quite realistic in their adaptations, despite the surreal settings.  

Onto design, the costume and wigs are some of the best I've ever seen.  Verging on the surreal, they brought a visual element that was truly spectacular.  The contrast in colour between the grey, mundane real world and the crazy colours of wonder.land are almost on par with that famous scene from The Wizard of Oz.  The staging was inspired, the technology involved was complex yet seamless, leaving the audience wondering what was happening next.  It felt genuinely magical.

I have a sort of love/ hate relationship with musical theatre, and Damian Alban managed to keep this production on the right side of that line  It wasn't too cheesy and the story was so fabulously over the top you can't help but smile! I actually laughed out loud a couple of times, which is a rarity for me in performances such as this.   There was a gigantic, glitter spewing remote control ride-on teapot for one thing, and that's not even the craziest part!  I can't even tell you the amount of shiny tape that came out of my clothing at the end of the night!


There were a couple of scenes where things slowed down a little, but other than that I really enjoyed the performance.  If you head over to see this I recommend you go early to head to the interactive exhibition, I had a lot of fun there playing around and because I got there early I was the only one there!

What theatre are you looking forward to this year?
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