ALICE: A new musical
by Oliver Taheri & Rebecca Crookshall music & kyrics by Jay Reynolds.
St James Studio 12 Palace Street SW1E 5JA To 21 March 2015.
Mon–Sat 12pm; also 1pm on 19, 20 March.
Runs 40min. No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 264 2140.
Review: William Russell 13 March.
Curiouser and curiouser indeed; but fun.
It is hard to understand just who this amusing and well-performed little musical, which is not like any version of Alice in Wonderland ever staged, is intended to entertain. It really is too eccentric, too quirky and too downright Freudian for children, but not quite naughty enough for adults.
The songs are charming, however, although in a musical one really needs them to end, not tail-off into silence. As a result there are one or two awkward moments when the audience is unsure whether or not to applaud – not the fault of the performers but the construction of the song.
The simple staging – this is a lunchtime show – makes neat use of some effective back-projections to show Alice increasing and diminishing in size, and the cast perform with verve. Alice’s mother – a back projected silhouette – is perhaps a mite too scary chiding her child for daydreaming, but Hannah Toy’s Alice, more of a Lolita than usual, is both pretty and pretty resilient and well able to cope with what befalls. Mum is the least of her problems.
As the Cheshire Cat Mateo Oxley is a splendid, sinuous and blatantly sexy beast – they way he keeps rubbing up against Alice is very suggestive, but tom-cats do that – while Kerry Enright almost stops the show belting out the Queen of Hearts’ big song.
Alice has a nice ballad in which she laments “I’m scared,” although Ms Toy, with perhaps a hint more lipstick than one would have expected, looks like she would not scare easily. Daniel Hope twitches and trembles impressively as a very frightened White Rabbit, Cerise Hine is an amusing French dormouse and Dougie Carter goes mildy nuts as the Hatter. The witty costumes owe nothing to Tenniel and watching Alice at it again proves a rather pleasant way of passing one’s lunch hour.
Alice: Hannah Toy.
The Hatter: Dougie Carter.
The Queen of Hearts: Kerry Enright.
Cheshire Cat: Mateo Oxley.
White Rabbit/Lory: Daniel Hope.
Mouse/Pigeon: Cerise Hine.
Dodo/Hare/Guard: Damian Robinson.
Caterpillar/Guard: Jamie Coleman.
Director: Paul Harnett.
Lighting: Alex Musgrave.
Musical Director: Daniel Williams.
Choreographer: Sean Parkins.
Costume: Katherine Connelly.
Lighting: Alex Musgrave.