Alice in Wonder City
This drama starts of with one of our leads having a dream that he’s the rabbit in wonder land. He wakes up just as he gets to know the name of the little girl in his dream: Alice.
The we see two very different lives, our dreamer is Chen Hai Jie, an amateur violinist who hopes to make it big one day, his playing is cheerful and hopeful too, his face expressing joy as he plays.
Then there’s the bigshot grandmaster He Ting Yu. He is rather more serious faced and he seems to have an attitude problem since he doesn’t mind making the orchestra wait for him and doesn’t even apologize to the conductor.
We also meet our main heroines. The japanese speaking Alice who’s taken with Hai Jie’s playful violin and who accepts his lively suggestion that he show her around Taiwan.
Lan Die Fei on the other hand is a fan of Ting Yu’s violin and has managed to score an interview with the orchestra Ting Yu is affiliated with through he sister who works there. Ting Yu hears part of the interview and decides that he likes what he’s heard from her response and hires her on the spot.
Alice is waiting for Hai Jie the next day but she’s staring off at a cafe but denies that she wants anything to drink. The cafe is owned by a caring lady, who seems to have suffered through losing a child – stolen? and therefore stretches out a caring hand to a little boy who has skipped school. (I’m going out on a limb here, but might Alice be her daughter?)
Alice and Hai Jie have a fun time on their trek through Taiwan, he tries to get her to wear a ridiculously cute helmet but ends up wearing it himself. She is enjoying her time with Hai Jie but there’s something that must be on her mind, because when it’s quiet her attention wanders hundreds of miles away to unpleasant memories of crying and a mother yelling for her daughter, the only thing that brings her back is Hai Jie’s violin.
Afterwards we have a time skip of one year, and it’s once again a performance day for Ting Yu. Once again Ting Yu is brooding over some tortuous past that has left him with chronic insomnia, and a brooding and selfish personality. This makes him late yet again as he continuously ignores the call by Die Fei and his assistant.
Hai Jie had missed last years because of a gig and this year he hurries to try and make it to the concert. As luck would have it Die Fei and Hai Jie bump into each other outside the Concert Hall, and she let’s him follow her backstage.
Once inside he’s suddenly recruited to play Ting Yu’s part during a rehearsal whenTing Yu’s assistant and the conductor hear a sample of his playing talent. Ting Yu walks in during the rehearsal and becomes pissed off that they would replace him even for just a rehearsal.
Then he looks around and notices that no one brought up his favourite violin Hai Ou and throws another tantrum until Die Fei goes to pick it up from his car (he’s such a friggin’ prince that he couldn’t have brought it up himself).
Turns out that when Die Fei took up the violin case the violin isn’t Ting Yu’s violin… he throws an even bigger tantrum and he and the assistant accuse Die Fei of stealing the violin in the three minutes it took her to get it and bring it up… so stupid.
Somehow Ting Yu calms down and grants an interview which is interrupted by Die Fei dragging Hai Jie and offering his violin for Ting Yu to use. It’s a good thing that Hai Jie is a good sport and willingly goes along with her plan and hands his violin over. Ting Yu seems pleased enough with Hai Jie’s violin and accepts it as one time replacement for the night’s performance.
The performance goes off very well, but in the midst of Hai Jie’s enjoyment of the evening something in Ting Yu’s playing surprises him, he later tells Ting Yu to his face that his interpretation seemed weak. Ting Yu doesn’t take nicely to being critiqued by a nobody violinist who doesn’t have an orchestra to play in, he starts scolding his assistant for letting a nobody play with his orchestra.
Hai Jie’s almost non existent temper is sparked and he tells Ting Yu off for being such a diva since all they’d done was try to keep things on track. Ting Yu tells him that it’s as it should be because people come to see HIM not some nobody in an orchestra so if HE’S dead or missing the event SHOULD be cancelled… This curiously harks back to a comment he made during the interview when he’d been questioned about the year he turned 17; he’d said that was the year he died.
Later as they’re all leaving Hai Jie comforts Die Fei and wishes her luck on dealing with the aftermath of the stolen violin.
Hmm… There was a little bit too much screaming and general bitter diva-ness with Aaron Yan’s character Ting Yu, but overall I liked the other characters.
I did like the sort of dream like quality the drama has as a whole, the colors neither harsh nor too soft, just really soothing.
I’m a bit intrigued also with Alice’s and Ting Yu’s back stories and hope that they won’t end up being extremely cliched.