MUSICAL REVIEW: Wonder.Land ★★★★
National Theatre London
Wednesday 16th December 2015
Take the story of Lewis Carroll's children Novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and bring it to the 21st century where on your phone you have an app called ‘Wonder.Land’, where you can create your own avatar, and make that app so addictive that you can't put it down 24/7 and that is what you have here from the genius of writers, Damon Albarn, Moira Buffini and Rufus Norris.
The production centres around a teenager called Aly; she is constantly moving school and struggles with teenager life as it is, from making new friends, to the constant arguing from her separated parents, and even believes her baby brother is more important than she is, but soon she comes across an online world called Wonder.Land, where she creates Alice, an avatar who Aly really inspires to be, seeing Alice as the perfect version of herself, and making her mobile the looking glass itself.
I have seen many plays at the national and I can hands down say that Wonder.Land was the most bonkers, bright and vibrant play I have seen there. The whole beginning section with Aly signing up to Wonder.Land was jaw dropping, because the visuals that were on stage being projected was like magic, and incredibly creative, making me wish I could have peaked into rehearsals to which how it was all created, because it was bold and ambitious, just like the rest of the production was.
The storyline had a brilliant mix of characters is well, from Aly and her family, to all the kids at school and even her head teacher Mrs Manxome, they all had a pivotal part to the story that made not one character feel like a filler to the action, and that's what made the production so strong. A huge part of this production relies on the character chemistry between Aly (played by Lois Chimimba) and Alice (played by Carly Bawden), and I can say that I was thoroughly entertained by both their on stage presences throughout, and this really helped make the whole production so uplifting.
A mention must be given to the music provided in the show also, which really helped the production feel complete, though I would admit that I found Mrs Manxome’s song very tedious and repetitive at points. I would also say that a downside to the production would be the final action scene in the production, which felt very heavy on the whole, which so much going on that I felt it very hard to concentrate whilst watching it, not knowing where to look with so many characters on stage, and especially sitting in the third row of stalls, but I would say that school children would probably disagree with this, as it was a jam packed explosive finale to an overall fantastic production which I would happily watch again in a heartbeat!