by Lewis Carroll
adapted for the stage by Daniel Winder

St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London WC2E 9ED to 30 August 2014
Mon – Sat 7pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Runs 2hr 30 mins One interval, to 30 08 14


Review: William Russell 11 August

Look no further for a summer treat. A truly brillig evening.
Daniel Winder’s adaptation of Carroll’s chess board set adventures for Alice is one of those joyous evenings where both the adults and children in the audience are kept entranced. Forget the blonde Alice of tradition, Laura Wickham, who plays her, is a feisty brunette. She is on a journey to find her older self, Mrs Grey, played by the statuesque Valerie Cutko, who is ailing, and the reunion saves them both.

But the plotting doesn’t really matter, nor does one need to know much about chess to enjoy the goings on although by and large Carroll kept to the rules when devising Alice’s adventures. Those who play the game can work it out.

Along the way she encounters the Red and White Queens, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Mad Hatter, the Lion and the Unicorn and best of all a splendidly knowing Humpty Dumpty who really does fall.

Alice’s task is to collect things which will help her defeat the monstrous Jabberwocky – Ms Cutko again – who guards the last chessboard square which she must cross. Laura Wickham is an enchanting Alice, and Dafydd Gwyn Howells does a splendidly funny Humpty Dumpty. But naming individuals is invidious.

The other six members of the cast – Ms Wickham only plays Alice – people the grounds of the Church with a host of characters weird, wonderful and bizarre. There seems to be nothing they cannot turn their hand to whether it is playing the spoons or the accordion, singing, dancing, doing pratfalls or, best of all, coping with interruptions from the more precocious junior members of the audience. Indeed part of the pleasure is the way the audience is brought in on the act.

Anyone looking for a summer treat for all the family need look no further – just go through the looking glass, which is how the show starts, to discover a wonderland conjured up with consummate skill by director Jamie Jackson.

Mrs Grey, White Queen and Rose: Valerie Cutko
Carpenter, Haigha and Musical Director: Leo Elso
White King, Tweedledee and Humpty Dumpty: Dafydd Gwyn Howells
White Knight, Hatta and Tweedledum: Nick Howard-Brown
Red Queen, Mosquito and Unicorn: Anne- Marie Piazza
Red King, Tiger Lily and Lion: Jos Vantyler
Alice: Laura Wickham
All other characters played by the company.

Director: Jamie Jackson
Composer: Candida Caldicott
Design and Construction team: Nigel Winder, Amber Scarlett, John Hoof
Lighting Designer: Ben Polya
Sound Designer: Filipe Gomes
Costume Designers: Florence Meredith, Maddy Ross-Mason
Movement Director: Isla Jackson-Ritchie

2014-08-12 10:03:29

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