Amazing Wonder.land at Chatelet, Paris
at Chatelet, Paris
Created by Damon Albarn, Moira Buffini and Rufus Norris
Music by Damon Albarn, book and lyrics by Moira Buffini
Review by Henning Høholt, Photography-by-Brinkhoff-and-Mögenburg
PARIS/FRANCE: Once again an excellent musical in the heart of Paris, musical shows for the whole family : jazz, opera, musical, dance, world music, French songs. This time the musical WONDER.LAND at Théatre du Chatelet in English language. A new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic story, wonder.land is a coming-of-age adventure that explores the blurred boundaries between our online and offline lives. The secret is that it is renewed to the time of internet iPhone, up to our days, where “all” young people are living most of their life at the internet, flirting, discussing, loving, arguing, being friends, not friends, like, and all that.
This version of the history about Alice in the Wonderland. Well directed by Rufus Norris is build up around a nice actual history about a mother and father who has divorced, they have two children, Alice, and a small baby. Alice loves her iPhone, and don´t want to live with anything else, but her mother force her after a whole weekend with her iPhone in bed, to join her to the Supermarket, and in that the history developes in a great way, understandable by all the young ones that filled up the audience, and also by some of us, older ones, who likes musical. – Aly – Lois Chimimba is struggling with all the pressures of being a teenager: family, school, friends and her own insecurities. Then she discovers wonder.land – a mysterious online world where, perhaps, she can create a whole new life. The web becomes her looking-glass – but will Aly see who she really is?
Wonder.land is full of really good tunes, songs, ensembles, and a lot of fun. As usual, I find links to many other well known musicals, as for example Oliver, but that is a compliment, and it i swell arranged. The orchestra played excellent, and the choire is good, and even the iPhone choreography works very well.
The scenographic is well working, easy and good changes between the school room, where Alice and her student colleagues and their school master – Mrs. Manxome: excellent played and sung Anna Francolini is playing their game around using or not using iPhone in the school, works very well, and the visual frame to get the stage to work as an internet world is outstanding and brilliant. Always disturbed by the brilliant Hal Fowler – Singing beautiful as M.C. (Cheshire Cat./Caterpillar).
Furthermore her father Matt : Paul Hilton, Dinah : Witney White , Kitty : Abigail Rose, Mary Ann : Stephanie Rojas. The beautiful Wonderland figure Alice : Carly Bawden, The White Rabbit is always anywhere, well performed by Joshua Lacey. And last, but not least the handsome Luke Laprel : Enyi Okoronkwo.
Beautiful costumes in the fantasy world, by Katrina Lindsay. Alice two costumes, one blue in the first act, and the red in the second, makes me remember the film versions, just that here it is much better, and the composition of her high healed shoes that makes it look like she is always on too tips, is very good.
The use of moving effects of the participating actors functions very good. Light underlines and give great atmospheres for the pictures.
Combining live theatre and digital technology in dazzling new ways, wonder.land is brought to life on stage by an extraordinary creative team. With stunning sets, costumes, video projection and lighting, and a score by Blur’s Damon Albarn, this is a musical like no other: an Alice for the online generation.
wonder.land explores teenage issues and contains some strong language. It’s not suitable for children under 10.
Manchester International Festival and National Theatre co-production. Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, National Theatre and the Théâtre du Châtelet.
Running time : 2h20 with intermission – In English with French surtitles
- Music : Damon Albarn
- Libretto and lyrics : Moira Buffini
- Direction : Rufus Norris
- Set design : Rae Smith
- Projections : 59 Productions Ltd
- Costumes : Katrina Lindsay
- Lighting : Paule Constable
- Sound design : Paul Arditti
- Choreography : Javier De Frutos
- Musical Supervision : David Shrubsole
- Stage direction collaboration : James Bonas
- M.C. (Cheshire Cat./Caterpillar) : Hal Fowler
- Aly : Lois Chimimba
- Bianca : Golda Rosheuvel
- Matt : Paul Hilton
- Dinah : Witney White
- Kitty : Abigail Rose
- Mary Ann : Stephanie Rojas
- Alice : Carly Bawden
- White Rabbit : Joshua Lacey
- Mrs. Manxome : Anna Francolini
- Luke Laprel : Enyi Okoronkwo
- Mr King : Adrian Grove
- Dum : Sam Archer
- Dee : Leon Cooke
- Mouse / Kieran : Ed Wade
- Humpty : Daisy Maywood
- Dodo : Ivan De Freitas
- Mock Turtle : Cydney Uffindell-Phillips
- W.P.C. Rook : Nadine Cox