WONDERLAND, Opera House, Blackpool
Lewis Carroll’s classic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ comes to life at the Winter Gardens as Frank Wildhorn’s musical Wonderland hits the stage this week.
While Alice is re-imagined as a 40-year-old divorced mum, rather than the child star of Carroll’s book, fans of the original will be pleased to see many of the characters the know and love.
It’s a family-friendly production with plenty to raise a smile. The vocals are particularly strong with Rachel Wooding (Alice), Wendi Peters (Queen of Hearts) and Natalie McQueen (Mad Hatter) the stand out performers.
There’s a fine line between embracing the silliness Carroll dreamt up back in 1862 to entertain his neighbour’s children and going over the top.
Wonderland doesn’t always stay on the right side of that line and the effort to bring the author’s vivid imagination to life comes at the expense of a rather cheesy story line.
Some strong individual performances and the well-rehearsed musical numbers are let down somewhat by shortcomings in the choreography.
It’s an enjoyable trip down the rabbit hole but with some big name productions coming to the Opera House this year, Wonderland has tough competition.