Alice in Wonderland by Andrew O’Leary adapted by Jackie Howting from Lewis Carroll
Cheray Hall (St. Edmunds) - 24 January 2019
A Review by Celia Bard
True to form, Edmundians has fashioned its own inimitable style in a fun production that incorporates familiar pantomime elements, but remains true to the spirit of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the characters that one loves.
The Queen of Hearts is quickly established as the baddie, who wants to kill Alice in order to steal her precious watch. The ‘cut down’, Queen, still with an enormous ego, is beautifully portrayed by Jessica Young. (Do so hope knees were well padded!)
Our Alice lives in an orphanage run by the snarling henchwoman, Ms Hackett. Theresa McCulloch plays this role with great gusto, culminating in a rousing performance of Diamonds are Forever. Alice is very close to Lewis Carroll’s model: caring and gentle, courteous and truthful, but not afraid to stand up to any ‘baddies’. Mary McGrath, a young actor with good physicality and a tuneful voice, gives a very pleasing performance as Alice.
The wonderful hip-hop singing White Rabbit is lively and jokey. Paula Young relishes this role: far removed from Carroll’s vision, it brings in very 21st century street culture. Matt Ludbrook’s Dame makes a grand entrance as Cookie and manages to deliver stock panto gags and jokes with a freshness and enthusiasm as if they had never been seen or heard before: a great feat.
The Hatter’s Tea Party erupts with Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse, three deliciously delightful performers. Matt Nicholas is an actor with a great star quality presence, bringing the Hatter to life with aplomb. His timing and interaction is faultless, delivering A Nice Cup of Tea as if he were a great opera singer, so-ooo Hatter. A disarming moment occurs when he lifts the dormouse out of the teapot. Here mention must be made of the scene stealing performance of young Evie Schaapveld who has remarkably sharp timing and stage awareness for someone so young. She acts and re-acts, totally absorbed in her role as Dormouse …
Read Celia Bard’s full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/alice-edm
Photography by Juliette Wait
An Inimitable Vision of Wonderland Alice in Wonde