Theatre Blog

Review: London Wonderground at Southbank

Written by  Tuesday, 26 August 2014
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Thanks to Official Theatre, I was recently invited to London Wonderground, a playground packed with a circus, cabaret and family entertainment.

Located at the Southbank Centre, London Wonderground is run by entertainment company Underbelly between May until September 2014.

I organised to meet my fellow theatre bloggers outside of the Wonderground Box Office at around 7:15pm.


Credit: Official Theatre 2014

By that time, I was hungry, so as soon as I walked through the entrance my friend and I grabbed some food and wine. There were a couple of food stalls to choose from - I was drawn towards the delicious smell of hot dogs, chips and slaw.

Wonderground London Food

The food was tasty and a great alternative to your traditional "hot dog" found at most fairgrounds. There was only had one choice of sausage left - venison - proving its popularity amongst visitors!

Afterwards, we queued up for Star Flyer, a 60-metres-high ride which gives you beautiful panoramic views of the city for £7.50.

Star Flyer Wonderground London

My friend was too scared to go up, so I ventured up alone. Despite being at such a great height and a frequent sufferer of vertigo, I felt incredibly safe within the enclosed pod. Having said that, if I had been a bit more confident (and less prone to clumsiness), I would have taken my phone up to capture the sun as it had began to set.
At 8:30pm we headed to the Side Show, that was promised to be full of eccentricities, oddities and curiosities. Unfortunately and unbeknown to us, the show had been cancelled meaning we were forced to return to the main area and find a spare bench to sit back down on.

An hour later we gathered at the 1920s Paradiso Spiegeltent theatre to watch a beatboxing act by two young Australians, Jamie MacDowell (@jamiemacdowell) and Tom Thum (@TomThummer).

Beatboxing? I hear you say. Not your obvious choice of content for a theatre blog. Each day Wonderground puts on various acts from an array of categories - such as cabaret, children shows, circus, comedy, dance and music. There's a real mix. (Visit London Wonderground's website to see the full line-up.)
I am not the biggest fan of beat boxing so I was pessimistic when I sat down.  However, within five minutes of watching them, I was won over. Although Jamie did apologise that his vocals weren't in top-notch condition having been touring Berlin this summer,  this did not seem to have a huge impact on the overall performance. The guys were fiercely talented, funny and created a great atmosphere for the audience.

Jamie Tom Thum 3

Tom Thum Jamie Mc2

Tom Thum Jamie Mc

While Jamie sung and played quirky and catchy songs on his guitar, Tom beatboxed sounds from a whole orchestral band. I particularly loved that they explained the meaning behind each song that they had written. The songs were a mash up between hip hop, indie and electro - which worked magically when the pair did a rendition of 90s hit "No Diggity".

Check out their YouTube channel here >>
Jamie and Tom are currently in Edinburgh Festival and return to Wonderground on 2nd September. They were so good, that I am tempted to pay Wonderground a visit again. Make sure that you buy a ticket to see them too!

Read 6558 times Last modified on Friday, 24 July 2015
Sophia Tremenheere

In her free time Sophia plays the french horn and piano, which is where her love for performing arts first stemmed from. Her top three favourite shows are musicals Mamma Mia, Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera. She also enjoys going to intimate gigs and festivals, particularly watching acts that are just starting out in their career, and regularly meets up with #LDNTheatreBloggers.

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