Some Kind of Wonderful

Staff Reporter (05 December, 2021)

A production full of community warmth, exceptional creativity and a pure joy to watch

50466Photo: Lidia Crisafulli

Ambitions to send out a powerful message of positivity to the local community prove successful in Theatre Peckham’s latest festive musical production, The Wonderful, directed by Suzann McLean, writes Carolyn Hart Taylor.

Taking a familiar Christmas favourite The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a starting point, the creative team have delivered a modern production that explores current issues including diversity, integrating Afro-futurism, technology, magic and fantasy, amongst others.

Ashleigh-Mae Schoburgh-Crooks, plays Efe, the modern-day Dorothy, a young black girl who, with her faithful dog TikTok, are swept away from Peckham Road to the land of Ozander. Efe’s journey proves an ideal theme for a typical young person to explore their place in this often-scary world, but revealing that none are typical, the play’s message confirms we’re all capable of ‘wonderful’ potential.

Discovering this results in a journey to find Mr. Wonderful, (Ray Emmet Brown), believed to hold all the answers. He’ll surely help Efe find her way back to her family in Peckham. Singing and dancing on route she’s faced with various dilemmas, exposing issues that affect children in Peckham and overseas.

Local young actors from Theatre Peckham play a host of characters, delivering incredible performances that cleverly weave in important issues such as child labour and mineral mining, thus further cementing the importance of local community having sel -agency in this uncertain world.

Just like Dorothy, Efe befriends an amazing trio on her journey, each dealing with their own insecurities in the world. Manne-Quin, works through his disinterest in academic merits in favour of expressing artistic flair for fashion; Mane Man a young black man exposes the pressure on young black men facing danger on the streets who need the courage to explore healthy fear that encourages valuing one’s life, and there’s Cyri a cyborg, isolated from human emotions and by communicating factually raises questions of identity alongside the relentless use of technology that is threatening community relations.

Efe’s journey delivers messages in such an affectionate and fun way that this is a fabulous show. A production full of community warmth, exceptional creativity and a pure joy to watch…Book now!

Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, London, SE5 7SB until 22 Dec. Times: See website for full details. Admission: Adults £15, Concessions and Southwark residents £12, Under 16s £10.

Box Office: Tel: 020 7708 5401 Online: www.theatrepeckham.co.uk

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