When we took our seat in the theatre for Wonderboy, we were instantly intrigued by the impressive stage. With its clean and pure lines, it made the stage resemble a spaceship. We knew we were in for a treat!
The play, written by Ross Willis and directed by Sally Cookson, opens with a boy and his comic book about a rather unusual superhero. We won’t spoil the surprise!
Straight away, we were transported into the imagination of the young boy with a speech impediment and we took to the sky with him as if speaking was like soaring through the air like a rocket.
A magical 90 minutes
What came next was a whirlwind of truly magical moments of surprise, sadness, anger and laughter as we met the medley of characters that made up the world of Sonny, the brilliant boy with a stammer played by the awesome Raphel Famotibe.
We cringed at the cruel school head, indifferent to the plight of her pupils, but fell in love with the endearing potty-mouthed teacher, with a real passion for helping the children but completely disenchanted with the education system. And last but not least, we absolutely couldn’t get enough of Sonny’s sassy and streetwise school friend Roshi, played by the hilarious Juliet Agnes.
It was impossible not to embrace the frustration of Sonny, at times not even able to pronounce his own name. The loneliness that he fights off with the help of his guardian superhero is heartbreaking. The fear, the rage, the underlying guilt that Sonny feels whenever he remembers his mother and the happy times they had before a tragedy happened, but also the hope, are all too palpable and this is due to the immensely talented cast. I also loved the use of the big screen to add weight and image to the dialogue.
When the deadline of an event Sonny needs to take part in approaches, I was reminded of The King’s Speech. But there’s no flowery language and posh accents in this play. It’s all very real and raw.
I won’t give anything away but Shakespeare fans will be delighted at the retelling of one of his greatest works through the eyes of Sonny’s cheeky and feisty friend. A particularly lively and extravagant scene will leave you with a new image of The Bard himself!
Wonderboy is wonderful!
Go and enjoy this fabulous story of friendship and resilience. It is definitely what we all need right now!