Damon Albarn writes new Wonder.land musical

Damon Albarn Pic: Loren Wohl

Damon Albarn Pic: Loren Wohl

Goldsmiths’ alumnus Damon Albarn has written the music for up-coming musical Wonder.land. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Wonderland, the musical will be shown at the National Theatre from November this year.

The Blur singer is working with playwright and screenwriter Moira Buffini, who will write the lyrics, and the director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, who will direct the production.

The story follows a 12-year-old girl called Aly who flees unhappiness at home and bullies at school by escaping into a virtual world to become Alice. Online, Aly is able to take on the persona of being brave, beautiful and in control. But some of the people she meets online– the Cheshire cat, the scary Queen of Hearts, the weird Dum and Dee seem oddly familiar.

As hard as Aly tries to keep them separate, real life and Wonder.land begin to collide in some very peculiar and dangerous ways.

Buffini told the BBC, “Alice offers a great challenge. Carroll’s stories and John Tenniel’s drawings are hardwired into our subconscious; characters curious and bold, treading a line between dream and reality.”

Albarn said: “I’m fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the unworldliness and what that might mean. Alice aside, the Queen of Hearts, the Dutchess, White Rabbit and Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood, which is probably why I was interested when director Alex Poots suggested a re-working.”

Buffini, who has scripted films such as Jane Eyre and Tamara Drewe said: “I have never written a musical before so I am in at the deep end – but with two wonderful collaborations in Damon and Rufus. It has been a real pleasure so far, and to my surprise I have enjoyed writing the lyrics most of all.”

Wonder.land will open the Manchester International festival on July 2 before moving to The National theatre in London’s Southbank in November before opening in Paris in 2016.

The production coincides with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

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