A wonderful time at Wonderground

We theatrebloggers are an mixed bag. We come in all shapes and sizes, some are experienced some are just starting out. But we have one thing in common and that is we are all passionate about the theatre.

Rebecca Felgate of www.officialtheatre.com knows this and brings us together periodically not only to see productions but also to socialise and chat about our blogs. Unfortuntely the first of these get-togethers I couldn’t make because of childcare issues (which was extra upsetting because it involved gin) and the second I had to be sober due to one of my #101in1001 challenges. Yes you’ve guessed it, drinking seems to be an important part of blogging :), I felt I had missed out!

Last Sunday the #ldntheatrebloggers were invited to The London Wonderground on the South Bank. Each year The Wonderground features a packed programme of circus, cabaret and comedy performances as well as a sideshow run by Guinness World Record-Holder, The Space Cowboy, fairground rides too….I had not been before but it sounded like a lot of fun, and guess what – wine too! I am there!

Wonderground is tucked away behind hoarding amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s Southbank. You could almost miss the entrance between two big wooden buildings (the box office and the Sideshow) but as you enter the area you are greeted by twinkling lights and a colourful eating area with a definite seaside feel based on Coney Island.

First impressions were very good. We were surrounded by a variety of Eateries and Bars, the most impressive being a revolving Carousel bar and a bar where you sat in static dodgem and waltzer cars. Deckchairs and colourful picnic tables were littered around and it was very pleasant to get a drink and take in the interesting ambience.

8pm came and it was time to go and see the sideshow run by Guinness World Record-Holder, The Space Cowboy. I had seen the pictures on the way into Wonderground and wasn’t sure this was my cup of tea. Described as ‘oddities, curiosities and eccentricities’

Sideshow

Sideshow

the advertising photos ranged from people sword swallowing, snake charming and doing very strange and seemingly painful things to their bodies. As a person who cannot watch ‘You’ve been famed’ without feeling squeamish, I was apprehensive to say the least.

But it was not to be….unfortunately for reasons as yet unexplained, the 8pm show was cancelled and the sideshow all locked up. We were left a little bewildered, tickets in hand with all the mysteries of the sideshow unexplained.

Undeterred; if I wasn’t going to be taken out of my comfort zone seeing freaky oddities then there was only one thing left to do. The Starflyer, A mobile fairground ride towers over Wonderground 60metres high. As I have said before in this blog (when I went abseiling) it is not necessarily heights I am afraid of but the feeling of not feeling safe. I certainly would not have got on the Starflyer if it still had individual chairs but these seats were in pairs and boxed in. So armed with a little dutch courage my friend Jo and I went on the ride.

High and fast as it was, I suspect a lot of the sensation was lost due to being boxed in as you didn’t feel the windrush but it did mean you could take photos and video without phone and camera flying out of your hands, the views were spectacular especially on a clear night but I must say £7.50 for a ride that lasts one a half minutes

Beware: Two hysterical women on The Starflyer – not at ALL necessary to watch 🙂

 

Our final treat for the night was tickets to see Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum in WG3Wonderland’s performance venue, the Paradiso Spiegeltent a large circus style tent, the style originating in Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The atmosphere in the Speigeltent was certainly atmospheric and authentic.

The programme of events in the Speigeltent over the summer is varied, here is comedy, cabaret, children’s shows etc. Performance ticket prices vary but there is something for everyone.

A list of what’s on the Wonderground Speigeltent this summer

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum were obviously not the most visual of the acts this summer but nonetheless very talented, Jamie MacDowell apologised several times for not singing at his best but his songs were heartfelt and we were all touched by the stories behind the lyrics. Tom Thum was amazing, I have never seen a beatboxer in action before and I must admit I was fascinated by how he was able to use his skills to accompany all styles of songs. Not the sort of show I would usually book for however I thoroughly enjoyed it. A lovely end to a great evening with the #ldntheatrebloggers.

I would really like to thank Rebecca at Official Theatre for such a lovely time. We now just need to know why Southern Rail cancelled my last train home….but that’s another story.

Wonderground runs until the end of September. Pop along for a drink or a bite to eat and browse their programme. You’ll be surprised.

Lovely #ldntheatrebloggers

Lovely #ldntheatrebloggers

Here is what some of the other #ldntheatrebloggers thought.

Official Theatre

Katy @MissKatyEnglish

Jessica @Theatre_tourist

 

Have you been to Wonderground? Did you like it? What acts would you recommend? I would love to hear your views. Please leave a comment below. If you have more media or links you would like me to add, then please email me at sammi@sammioneill.co.uk and I shall be happy to put them in.

 

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