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Theatre Peckham reveals cast and creatives for Christmas show The Wonderful

the wonderful

Theatre Peckham has announced cast and creatives for its upcoming Christmas show The Wonderful.

Described as a “Wizard of Oz meets Black Panther inspired reimagining” of L. Frank Baum’s iconic story, the piece will run from 1 – 22 December 2021.

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Ray Emmet Brown (Is God Is Royal Court Theatre, The National, Royal Exchange, Young Vic) takes on the title role with Tarisha Rommick (West-end And UK Tours including Fame, Lion King, Footloose, Chess) playing Aygum – The Evil Queen and Ashleigh-Mae Schoburgh-Crooks as Efe, The Wonderful’s Young Protagonist.

Billy Lynch, Khariis Ubiaro and Amy Bianchi play the characters Manny, The Mannequin, Mane Man and Cyri, The Cyborg respectively while puppeteer Sebastian Chambers operates Tik Tok (the Dog).

Artistic Director Suzann McLean directs the production written by Geoff Aymer with music composed by Jordan Xavier and Nick Bowers-Broadbent and choreography from CTC Dance founder, Christopher Tendai. The musical director is Ben Christopher with design by Katrina Russell Adams and costume design from Emma Wee.

The story begins in Nanna Emi’s takeaway shop in Peckham. A spectacular storm sweeps Efe and her dog TikTok from SE15 to Ozanda, a mystical African land where tribal tradition rubs shoulders with high tech gadgetry. There Efe embarks on a fantastical quest of self-discovery to find her way home. But not without the help of her new friends, Manne-Quin, Cyri and the Mane Man who show her there really is something magic in all of us.

The Wonderful plays Theatre Peckham in London from 1 – 22 December 2021 with tickets on sale now here.

Suzann McLean commented: “This show is about identity, being brave, self-acceptance and embracing the value that each and every one of us bring to the world. Theatre Peckham has a praised history for placing children centre stage. The Wonderful does just that with a story that encourages young people to seize control of their own destinies.”

She added: “This re-imagined production connects with a younger generation who want to live in a world where they can be unapologetically their true selves. I’d describe it as The Wizard of Oz meets Black Panther: Self-discovery meets Afrofuturism.

“Our theatre sits on the border between Peckham and Camberwell, so it was only right that our story reflects and celebrates the rich cultural intersectionality of its community. This quote from a child from a local school says it all, ‘I learnt that somehow, some day I can achieve anything because Wonderful is inside of all of us’ pupil aged 9.”

Writer Geoff Aymer commented: “I hope this very special adaptation makes this classic tale so much more accessible to today’s generation. We go from Peckham to a Wakanda-ish version of Oz. The message is simple: we all have hidden talents which make us a bit special. We just need to have self-belief and tap into them.”

The professional cast will be joined by a host of young actors from Theatre Peckham’s Academy while the venue has also provided roles front and backstage for five individuals from the DWP Kickstart Scheme.

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