Review: Wonderland, Bristol Hippodrome

Posted on May 9 2017 - 12:26pm by Samantha Clark

The hugely successful Broadway production is finally making its UK and European premiere. I recall seeing advertisements for this show some 18 months before its arrival in Bristol; the promotion was simple- Wonderland, with a picture of the white rabbit popping out of a drain cover, 2017.  It was quite obviously a show dedicated to the much loved stories of Alice in Wonderland but that’s the extent of guessing we had. Unless you’re looking for it, you’ll not find much more on this musical adaptation of the much loved children’s stories.  And even then, you’ll discover more about the Broadway musical than this particular version which is slightly different. It’s all part of the mystique that made it that much more exciting. As Claire, our reader’s corner writer, said, too much is given away today- with scheduling, previews, clips, social media- there’s little left to the imagination, anticipation and delight in discovery; we get all that, and more, with Wonderland.

We too will not be giving too much away.  You’ll only know yourself if you too take a trip down the rabbit hole.

We will say that we do encounter the familiar and loveable characters from the Lewis Carroll series that has been depicted many times before.  Some in an entirely new light and finally we get to understand their stories too. As always, Alice’s help is needed; though on this journey, it is an entirely new take on a familiar story- Alice is no child any longer and it seems that with each journey to Wonderland we take, Alice, regardless of age, has more to discover about herself and the world; with of course some important lessons that we can all take on board- regardless of age.

The cast for this show were just outstanding. Collectively, they have starred in the most prestigious West End and Broadway productions and it’s a delight to have such an esteemed ensemble pay visit to our local theatre with such a delightful show, it’s bringing that piece of West End direct to our doors. A show like this, especially with such a cast, is not to be missed. Kerry Ellis as Alice (who has also played Elphaba in the original cast of Wicked in the West End) and Natalie McQueen as Mad Hatter, were particularly noteworthy for their incredible spine tingling, powerful vocals.

I liken this musical production to Wicked- it has an exceptional original musical score that is as powerful as it is moving; the cast, I can’t praise highly enough; a story that goes further to help us see there is more than one side and it’s a magical show about self-discovery with some helpful friends to guide the way.

Wonderland, is a delightful, fantastical show that will delight your inner child and empower a younger generation. As Lewis Carroll said it best ‘In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make’. I think he meant that about this Wonderland. Don’t miss your opportunity.

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