Cineworld ViP Experience: Incredibles 2

Cineworld ViP Experience: Incredibles 2

BADA BA BABAA!

Parents of children under ten: HOLD ONTO THEM! Now is not their time, they have not waited like the rest of us, they do not DESERVE a place in the cinema! I have done my waiting: FOURTEEN YEARS OF IT!

… I apologise, but not too profusely as I know many of you feel the same. However, I should also apologise – mostly to myself – for abandoning this “Wee Thoughts” blog of mine. A few friends (thanks mum) have voiced their displeasure with me taking a break, so I figured in order to get back into the swing of reviewing I should begin again with a bang.

And here it is: BADA BA BABAAAA!

Yet, this isn’t just a review of Incredibles 2, but of Glasgow Renfrew Street Cineworld’s ViP experience too!

Ooooh yeah, I’m back, baby.

Firstly, let me explain what the ViP experience is.

Image from Cineworld Cinema YouTube

Yes, you’ll need to hold onto your super suits for the moment.

ViP can only be found at Cineworld Sheffield or Glasgow Renfrew Street. There you will find cinema suites full of reclining chairs paired nicely with a handy pull-out shelf for snacks. Not only this, but you are welcome to help yourself to a buffet up to 45 minutes before your film, and can take in as many cinema snacks as your stomach can muster. Everything I describe is part of the ticket price (apart from any alcohol you wish to consume) which comes to £29 per viewer, or £19 if you are an Unlimited member (which I am – score!).

You might be wondering: “geez, is it really worth the money?” and to that I’d have to point out; how much are you going to spend on tickets? Then, if you wish to have a drink, some snacks, would you really be spending much more..?

Image from Daily Record

Furthermore, let’s discuss quality/quantity. On Cineworld’s Facebook page you will be able to see the menu for your trip. As someone with 101 dietary restrictions, and becomes stressed because of them, I found this incredibly comforting. Is the food 5-star dining material? Of course not – yet they do offer vegetarian, and even vegan, options. As I said before, I have a few dietary requirements and I was unable to eat many of the options but I am sure if I had contacted Cineworld before dining I would not have ran into this problem.

However, I wasn’t particularly fussed about the “main menu”. No, I was there for the hot dogs.

And, to be honest, I was slightly disappointed. Usually a hotdog from Cineworld is humongous (and let’s not forget expensive) so I usually share a one with my boyfriend. However, on my ViP night, I had been starving myself so I could conquer multiple jumbo dogs in my 2 hour sitting. Yet, it was not fate, as the hotdog was about the size of a child’s serving. I was slightly annoyed until I remembered I could have as many as I liked so, three dogs and a tub of popcorn later, I was sufficiently stuffed. Therefore, maybe the quality is slightly lacking, but the quantity kept my belly happy.

Myself and my other ViP-ers did not venture to the bar (felt a bit odd while entering a PG film) but there was a few fizzy drinks on offer as well as bottled water. If I was being picky I would say there wasn’t a large variety of juice. Coke or Sprite was all to chose from. Everyone in my party was happy with these options but I imagine not everyone would be.

Possibly the most heartbreaking was the fact these was no Tango Ice Blast machine. Maybe this luxury is too expensive for Cineworld to hand out as “unlimited” but it was definitely something both myself and my boyfriend dearly missed.

Image from Daily Record

Now, moving on from food (finally), let’s discuss the cinema itself. I personally found it difficult to get comfortable in the red leather seats – even if they did recline. At one point I found a comfortable position only for my seat to automatically revert into its normal stature. If a person’s weight is removed from the centre of the seat the contraption will fold back to an armchair. I have to admit it was rather distracting to slowly raise back into reality. However, after talking to the other ViP-ers, I seem to be in the minority. Maybe I should just take a pillow next time – or would that be crossing a popcorn covered line?

But, yes, you read that right: “next time.” I do envisage myself going back and I would happily recommend this experience to my fellow cinema lovers.

Now to the main event: BADA DA DADAAAAA!

Image from Letterboxd

This long awaited sequel did not disappoint. During the first ten minutes or so I did find myself worrying as all of the “funny moments” were those found in the trailer and, being a Scottish lass, I had seen the trailer many, many, many times while the film slowly made its way over to the UK and these moments were not particularly funny anymore. Thankfully, the film quickly got into the swing of things.

And what a swing back!

I adored the story. Defying gender stereotypes mixed with good-old teamwork and some deeper themes of media dangers. I did find the so-called “twist” incredibly predictable – especially after the first film – but this is a children’s film after all and I am sadly not a child anymore.

But it definitely made me giggle like one, stare opened mouthed like one and even made me jump a few times. It was great to see the characters back in action and we were even treated to a few new ones too. Personally, I did not appreciate the new superheroes that were added to the story but they did give more variation. Plus I would have loved an after-credits scene – even just as a playful poke at Marvel (which, of course, Disney now own too) – but Incredibles 2 was already Pixar’s longest film and even the longest animated film ever made, so, I really can’t be that demanding.

Image from Rotten Tomatoes

Yet Pixar – yes, I’m addressing you directly! – you missed a massive trick! When the credits fade back to the Disney castle, the Underminer should have burrowed his way out of the ground! How hilarious would that have been?

I do have a degree in Filmmaking and Screenwriting now, by the way, feel free to call me.

Overall, my ViP experience was one to remember and made an extraordinary film even more enjoyable. If you are an avid Disney/Pixar fan like myself then I guarantee you Incredibles 2 was worth the wait.

All FOURTEEN YEARS OF IT.

I hope you enjoyed this double barrel review! If you’d like to keep up with the rest of my nonsense please follow me on Twitter at @popcorncrunch

Image from The Incredibles 2 Facebook Page
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My Top 5 Films of 2017

My Top 5 Films of 2017

2017 has been one heck of a year.

Like every year before it there has been a rollercoaster of events. There are highs and lows, twists and turns, sudden drops and dives. Moments of beauty have been squashed by hate, yet in the growing darkness light was always found. I can’t say that 2017 was horrendous from start to finish, but I hope 2018 brings peace and love to us all.

Yet, with that said, it cannot be argued that 2017 has been a strong year for cinema. For my final post of 2017 (although it has been a while since my last review) I would like to share my top five films of 2017. The films I detail below are creations that have failed to leave my mind since the first viewing. They may not be the most critically acclaimed, nor the most action-packed films of the year, but they are the chosen few that I felt brought something special to my year and deepened my knowledge of film.

So, without further ado, I present my Top 5 Films of 2017:

5. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Image from Element Pictures

Image from Element Pictures

Writer/Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, and Colin Farrell.

I didn’t write a review on The Killing of a Sacred Deer when I first saw it (thanks to uni) but it’s a story that has haunted me ever since.

For those who are unaware, The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows the story of a strange family who are forced to pay for the father’s past mistakes. The father’s two children begin to suffer from an unexplainable illness after he befriends an odd teen, Martin, and from there things only get weirder.

I think it was the direction of this film that has landed it in my top five. The choices the director made are inspiring. From the cinematography, to the delivery of dialogue, to the progression of characters, it all just… worked. I found myself squirming at awkward conversations, growing angry with characters, and I fully believed the world I was plopped into.

I also admire that Lanthimos didn’t explain everything to us like so many blockbusters feel the need to do. We were left with questions, left to figure out things for ourselves, and overall enjoy the journey.

4. La La Land

Image from redcarpetrefs.com

Writer/Director: Damien Chazelle.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone.

La La Land was the first film I saw this year and it was the perfect way to start. And, yes, I am aware that La La Land technically came out in 2016 – BUT, since it only graced British cinemas in 2017, I believe it still fits the bill.

La La Land is a beautiful story of love, ambition and dreams. Every single creator can relate to this film and I guarantee all of your hearts will break. I doubt many people have made it to the end of 2017 without seeing this film (it is on Netflix now, after all) so I’ll keep this explanation short and to the point: it still makes me laugh and weep just like it did the first time. I’m a sucker for a musical number and this film perfectly intertwines gorgeous cinematography with the old Hollywood flare.

3. Get Out

Image from horrornewsnetwork.net

Director/Writer: Jordan Peele.

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams.

Get Out has to be this year’s biggest surprise for me. I expected to like the film, but I didn’t expect it to still stick in my mind all these months later. It tells the story of a young black man, Chris, who goes to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. You might be wondering, what does it matter if they’re an interracial couple? Oh, trust me, it matters.

Get Out is another film I didn’t write a review on. Why? I simply didn’t know what to write apart from: “Ah pure loved it!”

Overall, Get Out has to be one of the best psychological horror/thrillers I have ever seen. Period. It that a bold claim to make? Absolutely not. It had surprising twists that I did not see coming, it was funny yet terrifying, and kept me engaged from the second it began.

If, for some reason, you still haven’t seen this film then I can’t recommend it enough. I would even recommend getting the DVD/Blu-Ray as the deleted scenes are incredibly interesting (and hilarious) to watch.

2. Raw

Image from uniFrance Films

Writer/Director: Julia Ducournau.

Starring: Garance Mariller, Ella Rumpf.

Raw is the only film on this list I didn’t enjoy. Yet, I continue to love it.

Raw is about a young woman, Justine, who begins studying at a veterinary school that both her parents and sister studied at too. After a crazy first-year initiation, the previous strict vegetarian begins to crave meat. However, how far will her cravings go..?

Raw definitely is not an enjoyable watch, but Ducournau offers such a refreshing change to horror that I can’t help but list it in my top five. Again, it was the twists that captured my attention, the acting was superb, and the score still haunts my eardrums.

If you’re someone who avoids foreign films, I can’t slap you around the head enough. If you are simply avoiding this film due to the fact it’s subtitled – you are astronomically missing out. However, if you’re avoiding it because of the gore – well, that’s far more understandable.

1. A Ghost Story

Image from Bleeding Cool

Writer/Director: David Lowery.

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara.

I feel as if this pick might be a little controversial thanks to Affleck, but since he spends the majority of the film under a large white cloth I don’t feel as guilty admitting this is my favourite film of the year.

I kept coming back to A Ghost Story again and again. Although films like La La Land got a more emotional response from me, films like Raw and Get Out shocking me to the core, A Ghost Story continued to stay – much like C’s character – stuck in my mind.

This film is about a young couple and their life together. After C dies, he is left to observe his partner M carry on with life without him.

Everything about this film spoke to me. The cinematography was absolutely stunning – each frame like a work of art. The long, unedited cuts that lasted far too long annoyed me, yet I wouldn’t change a thing. A Ghost Story is by far the sweetest tale of 2017 and the best example of 2017 cinema – in my humblest opinion.

~o~

So, there you have it: My Top 5 Films of 2017. If you agree with my list, why not check out my Top 5 Favourite Musicals? Or, if any of the films I mentioned interests you, feel free to read my reviews of them!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you in 2018!

God bless.

A Ghost Story (2017)

A Ghost Story (2017)

A Ghost Story has to be one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

When I was first greeted with the trailer of A Ghost Story I have to admit I laughed out loud. Seeing a grown man underneath the old-fashioned blanket-ghost costume came across incredibly comical to me. However, this film is anything but a comedy.

A Ghost Story comes from David Lowery who wrote and directed the masterpiece. Apparently he wrote the first draft within a day which I completely believe to be true as there is so little dialogue within the script. While watching a thought popped into my head: “It’s like a series of photographs.” You may be thinking, well duh – that’s what cinema is! But each shot was utterly beautiful – it was like a photographer had planned each shot and studied the composition down to the last inch. I don’t think there’s a signal frame from the film that I wouldn’t happily print to hang on the wall.

Image from: A24

However, you may be worrying that because the film is so beautiful in terms of cinematography that might be its only substance. If you are thinking this, I assure you otherwise. A Ghost Story is a heart-warming tale of love, time and dying wishes. If you’re a restless type who requires a fast paced film with car chases and shoot outs, I’d probably recommend Baby Driver over this film. However, I would still urge you to give it a go.

I have to admit, at times A Ghost Story annoyed me. I personally don’t feel a 5-10 minute shot of a girl eating a pie is particularly fascinating, nor a couple kissing in bed, and after a few minutes of these continuous shots I began to fidget. I do understand why Lowery kept these shots this length, I do understand what it’s meant to convey, but, overall, I really didn’t see the need for it and I personally feel this is what will cause people to call A Ghost Story “pretentious.”

Furthermore, I did wish there was more substance to the backstory. The focus was definitely more on the “afterlife” but I had hoped for a little more to sink my teeth into. For example, I don’t quite understand how C died. Yes, there was a car crash, but was he not looking? Was he drunk? Was it someone he knew that hit him? Maybe I’m simply asking these questions as I love the film and want more, more, more – but I think if we had this information we would have further connected with the character.

Image from: Vulture

For this review the focus has to remain on the cinematography and story as there’s not a lot else to write about. I can’t exactly talk about the acting in great detail as the main actor spends the majority of the film underneath a blanket (which, by the way, the wardrobe department deserve props for as it moved and sat perfectly throughout the entire film).

One aspect that I truly admire about the story is that Lowery avoids cliches. I really hate films that show one half of a couple moving on while the other person has to watch in despair. I breathed in relief when M moved out, knowing that C wouldn’t have to painfully watch his Mrs live with another man, have his children and grow old together. I much preferred the narrative Lowery presented.

Overall, I have to urge you to see A Ghost Story. Go yourself one evening, but not if you feel stressed or restless. Go when you’re in the mood for a journey – not a jam-packed plot – and I assure you, you’ll enjoy it. Possibly my favourite thing about A Ghost Story was at the very beginning, before the film had even started, when the screen shrunk inwards, rather than expanding outwards. This alone was enough to grab my attention, and it continued to hold it throughout the entire film.

Thank you for reading! Please follow me on Twitter (@popcorncrunch) where you’ll be first to hear about my adventures! You may also be interested in my last review: Detroit (2017).

Image from: Bleeding Cool

Detroit (2017): Show a Racism the Red Card Screening

Detroit (2017): Show a Racism the Red Card Screening

Free things don’t often come my way so you can imagine my suspicions when a free screening of Detroit was announced. However, I was soon to learn that Show Racism the Red Card was behind the film student’s dream and everything began to add up.

Detroit is based on the true events that happened in its namesake during the summer of 1967. Riots and rebellion raged over the city as black oppression reached a boiling point. It comes from director Kathryn Bigelow which is easy to tell if you’re an avid Bigelow fan. My boyfriend pointed out that the first half has the same feel as The Hurt Locker (2008) with its documentary-style camera work and this style worked perfectly with the subject matter.

After emailing Show Racism the Red Card and booking my space, I was quick to Google the events of Detroit in 1967 in order to make sure I was educated on the subject. Although I read up on the riots that took place, I failed to learn of the Algiers Motel Incident – the event Detroit aims to bring to light. However, I preferred going into the film not knowing of this incident as I could truly invest myself in the story, get lost in the characters, feel the true pain and betrayal as they did, which I believe added to the cinematic experience.

There were many people present at the screening which I found to be fantastic as it was mostly (if not completely) promoted on Facebook. There was even a school class in attendance! I cannot remember which school the pupils belonged to but it’s an idea that many schools should adopt. Detroit is the perfect film to show Modern Studies classes as well as RMPS studies. I truly believe the kids will have benefitted from the educational film – just as I did.

But onto the film itself. Detroit is a tough watch. Many of us at the screening confessed it wasn’t an enjoyable film but it was an experience none of us would change. The acting made the events in the film tug at the heart strings while the script worked flawlessly in their favour. There are even clips from real news programmes from the time interlaced with reenactments. These clips merged so perfectly together that I struggled to distinguish them apart. Overall Detroit is a difficult film to enjoy but a necessity we must all learn from.

Image from: Pioneer Press

After the film had finished, a panel discussion took place. Those speaking were Ude Adigwe (GMB Union), Professor Colin Clark (University of the West of Scotland), Margret Woods (Unite Against Fascism), Tommy Breslin (Scottish Union Learning) and even the film’s own sound recordist, Ray Beckett. Each person began saying what they personally thought of the film before the panel was open to questions from the audience. As someone who is terrible at creating questions, I awkwardly shifted my eyes side to side as I silently prayed someone would speak. Surprisingly my boyfriend raised his hand and asked if the film could be considered to be a war film as it shares many similarities to Bigelow’s previous works. Beckett nodded along with my boyfriend’s statement and he even shared the feeling on set was very similar to the set of Hurt Locker where he also recorded sound.

There was also a question that when asked I nodded in agreement. It was something I had been feeling but didn’t have the words yet to express. The asker put to the panel, “Would you say the film is set up in such a way that it somewhat justifies the police’s actions?”

From the murmurs in the room, it was obvious the opinion wasn’t a popular one.

The asker continued to explain that if there was a film about the holocaust, you wouldn’t show Jews acting out or causing havoc as it could act as a reason for the horrific event. However, the panel was quick to disagree with his point. Many of the panel pointed out that it’s hard to include every aspect of history in a film as they explained the riots only took place due to the build up of oppression the black community was feeling. Furthermore the reason so many individuals looted at the time was purely because so many of the community lived in poverty and most things stolen were basic necessities. Beckett was also quick to state that Bigelow was determined to express that the “riots” were not “riots”; they were a rebellion.

Someone also asked why Detroit was the focus of the film. They said that there are so many examples of racism, why focus on Detroit? The panel answered that in order to show a problem, it’s easier to first show a specific and work from there. It was also interesting to learn that the reason Algiers Motel was picked as the focus was because so few people actually know what happened. It was the mystery behind it that inspired the writer, Mark Boal.

Furthermore, I was incredibly touched to learn that the real Julie Hysell who survived the torment was present throughout the entirety of the shoot. When watching the film you think that the events must have taken place years ago – as they are far too barbaric and disgusting to happen now – but in reality it’s only been 50 years. Most of the survivors from that time are still alive so actors were able to meet who they were to portray. The fact that this horrific act of police brutality only happened 50 years ago and still happens to this day is a fact too disgusting to live with. Therefore, I will full heartedly support Show Racism the Red Card in their efforts to stomp out racism.

Together we can stop hatred and prejudice – but only if we do it together.

Image from: Show Racism the Red Card Scotland’s Twitter

Thank you for reading! Please look up Show Racism the Red Card – and remember to wear red on the 6th of October!

Image from: Bridge Magazine

Hounds of Love (2016)

Hounds of Love (2016)

"I realised that the good stories were affecting the organs of my body in various ways, and the really good ones were stimulating more than one organ. An effective story grabs your gut, tightens your throat, makes your heart race and your lungs pump, brings tears to your eyes or an explosion of laughter to your lips."

– Christopher Vogler, The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers, Third Edition.

I've recently started reading Vogler's The Writer's Journey and I couldn't have started it at a better time. While I sat in the cinema, Hounds of Love rolling, I couldn't stop myself from gnawing my fingernails. My breath was uneven and my heart didn't cease from pounding. During the torment, the passage above burst into my head and I finally understood what Vogler was getting at.


Image from The Hollywood Reporter

Hounds of Love is an independent film from Australia's own Ben Young. It tells the story of young Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) who is abducted by Evelyn (Emma Booth) and her partner John (Stephen Curry). With the fight to survive coursing through Vicki's veins, she attempts to escape by getting inside her captor's heads.

Hounds of Love is definitely a horror – the scariest aspect being that Vicki's ordeal could happen to anyone. It was this aspect alone that left my boyfriend shell-shocked, ashamed to be a man, and left him only able to mutter, "What a lovely film…"

However, I lacked this response. I felt drained, of course, but held great respect for Young. Hounds of Love is a chilling tale that expertly shows both sides of the coin: victim and predator. In many ways, Evelyn was just as much of a victim as Vicki. In the news, in the real world, this character would be held as a witch – an evil woman – but Hounds of Love shows how damaged and broken these individuals are. John even showed signs of weakness in his everyday life while being bullied. Of course what these characters do is disgusting, but very rarely are we able to see their side. This is an aspect I truly admire.


Imagine from Variety

Furthermore, the cinematography was simply stunning. The recurring slow motion, panning shots continued to mesmerise me throughout. The eerie effect it created was utterly perfect for the atmosphere the film aimed for.

Plus the acting was simply Oscar worthy.

However, the story didn't unfold the way I expected. From the summary I read on IMDb, I thought there would be more of a focus on Vicki's sly behaviour to successfully "drive a wedge" between her captors. Therefore I thought Vicki would secretly flirt with John, spouting lies in order to win his affection, while also whispering to Evelyn about her failing relationship. Yet, this was not the focus of the tale. Personally, I felt the focus was on women: more specifically motherhood. I admire this road Young took with the script. His portrayal of woman in film was refreshing as so many men struggle to create realistic female characters.

Overall, "enjoy" isn't the word I would use to describe my feelings towards Hounds of Love but I truly admire it. Like I said to my boyfriend as we left cold and shaking from the Glasgow Film Theatre, "I have never wanted anything more than for Vicki to escape that damn house."


Image from HeyUGuys

Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@popcorncrunch) to always keep updated with my reviews! Thanks for reading!

Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver (2017)

If you like music, car chases and guns, you will like Baby Driver.

Image from The Telegraph

Edgar Wright must have been unable to shake the idea of his 2002 music video for Mint Royale’s Blue Song as Baby Driver shares much in common with it. However, Noel Fielding was replaced with Baby – a young man with a rocky past. Baby suffered from a car accident as a child which resulted in a constant ringing in his ears, hence why he listens to music every waking hour. Due to past mistakes, Baby has a debt to repay to crime boss Doc, but even when his debt is cleared he is unable to escape.
Baby Driver is a film I would describe as a Saturday-night-popcorn-munching film. It doesn’t take a lot of thought, it’s fast paced and exciting, and there’s a lot of things blowing up.

I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes for Baby Driver – even after reading so many raving reviews. As soon as I saw the trailer, I groaned. Ansel Elgort doesn’t have a résumé that impresses me and a film about a get-away driver sounded, well, boring. However, my prejudice was squashed. Elgort was able to break out of the “teen movie” stereotype – even impressing me with his performance – and Wright awed me with good old fashioned car chases and action.

However, I’m not left jumping with joy. Yes, Baby Driver was fun, exciting, exhilarating and touching, but I continue to feel as if something was missing. After days of pondering, I think I’ve finally got it.

Image from Teaser Trailer

I’m not certain if it was Wright’s intention, but I found myself constantly questioning whether Baby actually had a hearing impairment. From the way the character was acting and, judging the small pieces of information we were given about Baby’s past, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had two very capable, fully functioning ears.

Why do I think this? The flashbacks. These segments show the audience how Baby got his first iPod, how he already loved music due to his mother, and how Baby would listen to music while his parents fought. I believe it is a great possibility that Baby simply listens to music because that is how he was taught to cope with stressful situations; his music is his comfort blanket.

Why does this matter? you may be screaming. So what, right? It doesn’t affect the story in any way, does it? We still get to listen to awesome music throughout every scene, what does it matter if he doesn’t have a hearing impairment? Well, I personally found it difficult to trust Baby’s character due to my suspicions. I feel if Baby had come clean to his love interest, Debora (Lily James), then the story would have been enriched so much more. Plus, I would have found the love story to be far more compelling if such a bombshell had landed, as I personally found it difficult to understand why Debora agreed to run away with Baby – I mean surely she should be running away from a criminal? But hey, maybe I’m not romantic enough to understand.

Overall, Baby Driver is the perfect film to see if you want to get away from the world for a few hours – and even better if it’s a birthday treat (thank you boyfriend!). Fantastic action accompanied by brilliant music, what more can you ask for?

Thanks for reading my review but make sure you follow me on Twitter (@popcorncrunch) to catch every update! 

Image from The Fanboy Factor

Wonderland

Birthdays have a funny habit of reappearing every year. 

And each year, the same panic arises: what present do I get them?

My family usually feel this strain the most as I never know what I want for my special day. However, this year Wonderland was coming to The King’s. What a perfect time to try something new, no?

Before taking my seat, I had assumed that Frank Wildhorn’s musical version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland would have a modern twist and would somehow have a dark edge due to this. After five minutes into the show, I realised I was exactly right.

Image from The Bolton News

Alice was no young girl who simply fell down a rabbit hole; she was a divorced mother who couldn’t handle the real world. Still helplessly in love with her emotionally abusive ex-partner, Alice relishes the thought of staying in Wonderland where real life problems won’t affect her. However, the goofy boy-next-door love interest and her far more mature daughter, Ellie, would not let her stay. Throughout the musical Alice learns she cannot live in the past and let her dreams continue to be dreams; she must face her reality and grow up.

So, yeah, maybe not dark enough to give your children nightmares, but dark enough to hit me in the heart. 

If I was to keep this review short and sweet (which if you’re a regular, you know will never happen) then I’d simply say, “If you want to start introducing your children to the musical genre, Wonderland is the perfect starting point.” It’s fast paced, packed with songs, and the humour characters’ possess is perfect for young minds. 

However, am I going to stop there? No.

Image from stagereview.co.uk

The start of the musical was so fast paced I felt I was struggling to keep up. We had barely met the three main characters before they were thrust into Wonderland (by an elevator by the way – I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that) and then there was even less time before we were introduced to more wacky characters. The first half of the first act felt a bit mad, which I guess is fitting.

You could say that I’m becoming very picky in my old age, and studying story structure is making me a snob, and I’d have to agree. However, I do not believe that a musical targeted at children should face less criticism than any other musical. The structure of the story felt incredibly lost at the beginning of the show – as if there was too much to fit in – however by the intermission I could see the themes and characters unfold into a logical structure. 

Furthermore, I was incredibly disappointed by the costume design. All costumes and makeup felt undeniably amateur. As an avid Strictly fan, I love a good frock, and I was completely disappointed with what I saw.

Image from anorganisedmess.com

However, I felt the stage design was simple yet effective. Very simple changes were made yet it felt completely different. 

The actors and actresses involved also impressed me. Each conveyed their character well and effortlessly made me laugh – my star being Naomi Morris who played Alice’s daughter, Ellie. Her moody teenager continuously cracked me up. Furthermore, the songs were incredibly entertaining and the good singing that accompanied it made Wonderland a breeze to enjoy.

But, the big question remains. The question that determines the success of Wonderland: would I go see it again? Would I actively seek out tickets and fight for the best seats in the house? 

No. 

As I have alluded to throughout this review, if I was a mother with young children who loved Alice, I feel I’d be buying tickets again and again. However, as someone who was not the biggest fan to begin with, I don’t feel a pull to see it again. Does this mean Wonderland wasn’t an enjoyable experience – of course not! Did it ruin my birthday? Definitely not! 

But don’t be expecting it in My Top 5 Musicals.

Thank you for reading my review! Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @popcorncrunch, to keep up to date with new reviews!