Alice In Wonderland

Family show revisiting the famous tale.
Oxfordshire Theatre Company, touring around Oxfordshire November 2010 - February 2011

November 26, 2010
How lovely to see the Pegasus open again – and what a great facelift it has had! New life has been injected into the place and it was the perfect setting for this new production of Alice in Wonderland, as adapted by Neil Duffield.

When I saw that the cast comprised only three people, I was a little hesitant, wondering how they would keep the action going. This simply wasn’t an issue; the story flowed as easily as if there had been a cast of 30. They managed this due to the clever set design, well thought-out props and - last but not least - the wonderfully versatile acting by Kate Scott, Peter F Gardiner and Ami Stidolph.

The story begins with Alice, Charles Dodgson and his maid going for a rowing boat trip from Folly Bridge to Godstow to have a picnic. Whilst playing cards and discussing mathematics - never Alice’s favourite subject - she is distracted by the sight of the white rabbit rushing around with a plate of jam tarts. Alice sets off in pursuit, falling down the rabbit hole and passing through into Wonderland where she meets the very strange Duchess, the delightful Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, the Hatter with his friends March Hare and Dormouse, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

The Tweedles deserve special mention for their entertainment value. Hilariously played by Stidolph and Gardiner, they were clearly not identical (something Alice points out to them straight away - a far better approach than trying to suspend the disbelief of the kids in the audience by trickery). The pair dressed identically though – as spivs – and they adopted a version of Estuary English that had the audience in fits of laughter.

A healthy dose of panto-style audience participation (some involving flamingo crocquet) had the children present literally bouncing in their seats. Adults enjoyed the knowing looks to the audience that accompanied references to the fact that the Queen and Tweedledum could never appear on stage together - a nice touch.

The whole show was helped along by a few song and dance numbers – Lewis Carroll nonsense verse set to music. All in all, very entertaining - definitely a great family show to be recommended in the run up to Christmas.
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