I thought I knew what to expect from this show. Who doesn’t know the story of Alice In Wonderland after all?
Grand Opera House, York
Till Sat Mar 11 @ 7.30pm; Wed and Sat matinees @ 2.30pm
I’ve read the book, and really enjoyed the quirkiness of the Tim Burton adaptation. This performance is something totally different, but in a good way.
The overall impression is one of vibrancy, enthusiasm, stunning voices and a mishmash of colourful costumes that shouldn’t work, but do.
I don’t think I’ve seen this much denim on a stage since the Eighties.
All grown up
This adaptation features a modern 40-year-old Alice who’s having pretty much the worst day she can imagine.
Her teenage daughter seems more like the grown up than her mother, which provides for some excellent comedy once the plot unfolds.
Cue a descent into Wonderland for Alice, Ellie and Jack (the guy from downstairs that Alice never seems to notice).
The set cleverly uses a circling design to portray the rabbit hole, and it works equally well as a background throughout.
Intuitive lighting helps set many of the scenes, and with just a few props in the shape of a table, chair and hedge you can easily believe you are in Wonderland.
The story seems to be about becoming the person you want to be, and there are several characters who wish they were different.
Some of the transformations are hilarious; seeing Ellie go from a prim and proper teenager reminiscent of Saffron in Absolutely Fabulous to a stroppy teenager more akin to Harry Enfield’s Kevin had me crying with laughter.
Naomi Morris not only has a great voice as Ellie, but her facial expressions are hilarious.
Mad Hatter Natalie McQueen transforms from a cooky, shy character wearing knitted jumpers to a stunning temptress with a knock out voice.
Her duet with Rachael Wooding’s Alice – Who I Am – was a definite highlight of the show for me.
Stephen Webb’s Jack transforms from a shy nerd in glasses to a leather jacketed boy band lead singer. The boy band’s performance was considered by my daughter to have more cheese than a cheese factory; I think she had a valid point.
The biggest surprise for me was Wendi Peters as The Queen of Hearts, wow, what a voice. She was wasted on the TV screen, this is where she truly belongs.
The show had some of the best choreography I’ve seen, it all flowed together seamlessly.
The whole thing was fun, funky and at times surreal. It was a riot of colour, a celebration of song, and it all came together beautifully.
The stage was full of energy, and the performances shone. This is a great show for all the family.