Taking Wonderland online
wonder.land interprets Alice in Wonderland as a virtual world that provides solace from the trials of real life. When 12-year-old Aly (Lois Chimimba) enters the digital world she escapes from the bullies and becomes not herself, but Alice. As this impressive avatar (Rosalie Craig) she meets the curiouser and curiouser characters of wonderland: the Red Queen, a Cheshire Cat, and Dum and Dee. But, as in the original tale, nothing is quite what it seems and real life and this virtual refuge begin to overlap to chilling effect. This surreal story is told though a newly-composed score and songbook, which director Rufus Norris describes as 'infectious and exuberant' -- though the critical reception to Albarn's songs is mixed.
Theatre and the Internet
The internet and the creative possibilities that virtual worlds offer have been a prominent theme in new writing recently. The Royal Court staged two contrasting explorations of online worlds and interactions with Jennifer Haley's chilling The Nether and then Tim Price's riotous Teh Internet is Serious Business, each of which evoked the virtual space with very different aesthetics. Innovative stage technology plays a crucial part in the visuals of wonder.land: Rae Smith, War Horse designer's set is offset with projections by the creatives at 59 Productions, whose expertise at creating narratives through technology has been showcased in stage shows including Great Britain, and the spectacular light show at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Old friends collaborating on new musical
With the film adaptation of London Road in cinemas, Rufus Norris is renowned for making new musicals into blockbusters, and he has already collaborated on opera Dr Dee with Grammy and Brit award winner Damon Albarn. Everyday Robots, Albarn's debut solo album, was nominated for a Mercury Prize, adding to a string of successes that make him one of the most accomplished and multi-talented contemporary musicians. And with the sellout success of Norman Cook and David Byrne's Here Lies Love still fresh in our minds, there's certainly an appetite for new and boundary-breaking musical theatre, penned by chart-topping British musicians. Norris could hardly contain his excitement when discussed the project, saying it's 'Damon at his absolute best'. But he also added that the biggest difference between working on wonder.land and Dr Dee is that this time the Blur and Gorillaz singer is not writing the lyrics. Instead Albarn has written the score and Handbagged writer Moira Buffini has penned the book.
wonder.land: Manchester, London and Paris
wonder.land is one of four collaborations between this National Theatre and regional theatre companies in the 2015 season. Produced in partnership with the Manchester International Festival, after its Manchester premiere wonder.land will transfer to the Olivier Theatre in November 2015 before hitting Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet in 2016.
|What||wonder.land, National Theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
27 Nov 15 – 31 Jan 16, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information from the National Theatre|