I am so super excited to chat about my evening exploring the fabulous Milton Keynes Theatre and gaining a backstage glance into the wonderful world of Wonderland!
A backstage tour of a big production like this has long been on my bucket list, so to say I was excited to head through that stage door is an understatement!! We were greeted by the wonderful Daniel of MKTheatre and Alex Adamson – the very lovely Stage Manager for this crazy production. We headed through the stage door (I honestly felt like royalty) and straight to the heart of the action – the centre of the rabbit hole/the stage to take it all in. It was incredible to get a glimpse of this amazing and vast theatre from the performers point of view!!
Alex took us through the wings where we learnt all about what goes into the production to make it happen. *Spoiler Alert – Its not easy!* We saw the tugs and pulleys which are manually turned each time Alice’s house appears on stage – I personally expected a nice easy button operated situation. We wandered through the ‘Costume Village’ where each costume was perfectly prepped ready for some impressive quick changes – 11 seconds is the fastest in this show – How !?!! We saw the insane volumes of wiring; kilometres upon kilometres which power the 2000+ lights used in this show!! Bear in mind, this has to be taken down, packed up, lugged to the next venue and set back up every single week! We also managed a quick trip down into the pits to see where the orchestra resides. The theatre looks incredibly huge from this vantage point!
Next, we headed back upstairs and into the auditorium where we met the fabulous Kerry Ellis. I will hold my hands up and admit that I was indeed one of the crazy fans of her Elphaba days, so the chance to ask her a few questions was just amazing!! She was so lovely to us and we had a really nice chat, it was great to hear her thoughts on the production. Kerry, if you ever read this – Thankyou!
So, onto the questions – I’ll pick out a few of the best!
How are you finding the tour? It’s good! We’re on the home stretch now, the guys have 5 weeks left and I’ve got this and then Bournemouth. I have played in MK before in Miss Saigon so its nice to be back and I’m not too far from home here!
How do you find touring life compared to the West-End? I haven’t toured like this in a long time! It has its bonuses – I’ve been able to get to know a lot of cities and you really get to know the company, but its also hard to be away from my family! I’ve split the tour with Rachel Wooding which has been nice, a little bit hard for the team to keep switching, but we’ve had a lot of fun!
What is your favourite scene in this show? I like together because everybody’s on stage and its dancing and singing – just fun! And I’m not thinking about belting out big songs!!
Do you have any pre-show rituals? We do our pre-show workout as a company which is really nice because I get to see everyone! I try not to be too excessive with routines because I know how it can affect you! In Wicked I had to drink a certain tea or go down at a particular time and if I didn’t it played on my mind! So I try to do things differently every day and not be obsessive!!
What are you dying to see in the West-End at the moment? Oh there’s just so much!! So, I haven’t seen Harry Potter yet because I just haven’t had the time and I’m so excited, I need to see it!!! Dreamgirls I haven’t seen, I need to see a friend of mine in Mamma Mia, I haven’t seen Wicked in forever and There’s Something about Jamie!!
What would you tell people about Wonderland? I’d say that so far, at the end of the show everyone is up on their feet, tapping along, clapping along and cheering and they go out smiling. Its a good night out, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are some amazing songs in it and you’ll just have a fun night! Its escapism for a couple of hours. Come with an open mind and if you want to have fun, you will!
What 3 words would you use to describe the show? Oh blimey! Its bonkers, its loveable and its fun!
So there you have it ladies and gents – from the wonderful Kerry Ellis herself!! If you want a fun, bonkers and loveable night out – Wonderland might be your thing!
Click here if you want to see my Wonderland Review and to find out where to buy tickets!!