The classic children’s tale of Alice in Wonderland was recreated very well in this production from Blue Orange Arts, giving it a refreshing modern twist. Playing at the Blue Orange Theatre until 11 June, the cast performed with never-failing energy and enthusiasm as they whipped through musical interludes, quick costume changes and entertaining scenes.
Bethany Goodman kept good control of the story and came across well as the innocent and curious Alice and interacted well with a myriad of other hilarious and enchanting characters of Wonderland, portrayed with great skill by Matthew Tweedale, James Nicholas and Charlotte Fox.
Highly effective use of projections and sound effects really caught the audience’s attention – an extremely creative way of easily changing sets during the whirlwind tour of Wonderland! The space was used effectively, with characters sometimes coming in from behind the audience, making you feel as if you were part of the story. Participation was always encouraged in the songs – favourites being the tea party song (Move over! Move along! TEA!) and the rock-and-roll version of the Duchess’ lullaby.
The group should be commended for showing great imagination and ingenuity in the scene where Alice suddenly grows enormous, trapped in the White Rabbit’s house – a simple yet creative method to show this was to arrange painted blocks on a very small scale, as well as scaled down puppets of Bill and the White Rabbit being used to great comic effect. In addition, the successful use of physical theatre during Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole really gave a sense of falling into a mysterious and unknown land.
The audience interaction sometimes fell a bit flat (through no fault of the cast, but the children in the audience initially being quite shy and quiet), but the cast were not fazed and bounced effortlessly back into the fun and fantasy of the story.
If you don’t know the original story very well, some sections felt a tad disjointed and therefore confusing, and some characters were not always clearly introduced. However, it still made for a highly engaging and fun production that the entire audience was enchanted by; a wonderful, family-friendly show that captivated everyone from the start.
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