Interview: Wendi in Wonderland role in Milton Keynes
A role where you are required to eat three jam tarts a night might seem like a joy.
But for Wendi Peters, who stars as the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland, it’s becoming a little bit of a chore.
She said: “The Queen of Hearts is absolutely mad, sitting there eating a lot of jam tarts and cutting off people’s heads.
“Although now we have done more than 200 shows, eating three jam tarts every performance, you do get sick of them.
“We did look at trying to have something else but there is nothing else that looks like a jam tart.”
The show, loosely based on the books by Lewisis Carroll, is coming to Milton Keynes Theatre from Monday to Saturday July 17 to 22.
Hailed by the New York Times as ‘inspirational’, Wonderland is an enchanting musical adaption of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with a huge heart, a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder. It’s an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic.
In the tradition of the best stage musicals, Wonderland boasts a catchy score full of songs from Frank Wildhorn, writer of pop hits for Whitney Houston and critically acclaimed hits on both the West End and Broadway.
Wendi said: “In our version it is a little different in that Alice is just about to turn 40 and has got a daughter and she doesn’t want to live in normality. So rather than going down the rabbit hole, the white rabbit comes out under a lift shaft.
“I have got two very big numbers in the show and plus the Queen of Hearts have a very shouty part so it takes a lot on the vocal chords, especially when we have been doing it since January.
“Sunday is a rest day for my vocal chords and then when I am not performing I try to rest the voice as much as possible.”
As well as this being a new role for Wendi, this performance will be another first for her.
“The show is going really well and it is a lovely part and something for the entire family.”
“I have never performed at Milton Keynes Theatre before but I have been to see people in shows there.
“I’m looking forward to being there and it is only 45 minutes from my house so I can spend some time at home which is lovely when you have been touring for a long time.”
She has performed a number of different roles on both film and television but does she have a preference for either medium.
Wendi added: “It is lovely to have a mix of both stage and television work. I think if you had to put a gun to my head and forced me to choose just one to do for the rest of my life then it would be the stage.
“You get to play a lot more outrageous characters on the stage and that appeals to me.
“Whereas on television, people are after you to be a version of yourself at the moment.”
And despite the fact that she left the show in 2007, she will probably be associated with the part of Cilla Battersby Brown which she played for four years. Wendi said: “I had four years on Coronation Street and I met some wonderful people and some fantastic times on the show. She was a very brash, over the top character which is great to play. I think being a slightly larger lady, I am destined to play the over the top characters which is a lot of fun and something I really enjoy doing.”
She also returned very briefly in 2014 - and may yet return. Wendi said: “Never say never.”
Tickets cost from £22.40. Call 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes to book.