An all-star cast will descend upon the New Wimbledon Theatre next week for a fantastical new musical production, writes Nicky Sweetland.
Frank Wildhorn’s musical entitled Wonderland, which is based on Lewis Carroll’s tales of Alice will, journey down to South London as part of a celebrated UK tour and with a collection of West End legends playing some of the colourful characters from the beloved stories, it promises to be a theatrical event not to be missed.
Kerry Ellis (Wicked, Cats, Murder Ballad) leads the cast as Alice, with Dave Willets (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) playing the White Rabbit. They are joined by former Coronation Street star Wendi Peters as the Queen of Hearts, who took some time off from her busy tour schedule to tell me about the show, which takes place a few years later than the other adventures.
Wendi explained, “It’s an amalgamation of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, but moved ahead a little bit.”
Alice is a put upon single mum, who on her 40th birthday learns that not only is her ex-husband getting remarried, but also that she has lost her job and Wendi tells me, “They end up in Wonderland by going down a lift shaft – rather than a rabbit hole – and you get to meet all of the crazy characters on the way.”
The Caterpillar, the March Hare and the Cheshire Cat are all waiting to greet them as well as and the Mad Hatter, who hatches a plan to overthrow the villainous Queen of Hearts.
Wendi is having a whale of a time playing the irate Sovereign who has a penchant for the phrase “Off with their heads!” and said, “It’s great fun because basically she’s absolutely bonkers.”
The show has been written by American composer Frank Wildthorn, who is best known for his musical Jekyll & Hyde, but who also wrote the international chart topper “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” for Whitney Houston. His extensive musical repertoire has been put to good use in this musical adaptation and Wendi said, “The main thing about the show is its fantastic score. It’s got a really good mix from pure musical theatre, to classical and through to rock and pop, so there’s something in it for everyone in that respect and he loves a key change does Frank. We have an amazing band and so it sounds fantastic.”
Wendi continued, “They have gathered together an amazing musical theatre cast as well, so vocally it’s amazing. We have some real experience with the principals, who have been in pretty much every show in town if you put it all together.”
Wonderland has garnered some excellent reviews on its travels around the country so far and with a spectacular set to add yet more magic, Wendi assures me it’s a show not to be missed and said, “You should come and see Wonderland for pure escapism. Whether you’re a Lewis Carroll fan or not, you should come to experience some wacky characters and great music. It’s just a fun night out.”