ALICE IN WONDERLAND - MELBOURNE
ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Rapidfire International Inc in association with Boyd Productions, Athenaeum Theatre, 9-10 January 2018 (3 performance only before touring) Photography by BW Photography
Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic, adapted and directed by Penny Farrow, done in under an hour with actors and puppeteers playing over 20 characters – this is no mean feat! They manage all the well-known scenes of the classic: Down the Rabbit Hole, Advice from the Caterpillar, Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee, A Mad Tea Party, a Rattle Battle, a Game of Croquet and Who Stole the Tarts? – much to the delight of the young audience.
Playing at the Athenaeum, it has the feel of the well-toured Christmas pantomime of yesteryear, with a set that can be thrown into the back of a truck to get to the next stop. The set, although perfunctory, has all the elements of a world of wonder with mushroom tables and a backdrop of a magical garden.
The costumes (Zachary Lieberman and Ethan Walker) give it an edge of colour and movement, especially the Queen and her troupe of playing cards; the flamingo mallets and hedgehog balls in the croquet scene, the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and the puppets (Deiter Barry Creations) of Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, and Dormouse all are the wondrous kind that a young audience will love.
The actors, Georgina Walker (Alice) Jacqui McLaren (White Rabbit) Simon Burvill-Holmes (Queen of Hearts) Karen Crone (Mad Hatter) Liam Nunan (March Hare) Jackson McGovern (Dormouse/Caterpillar) Merrlyn Tong (Tweedle Dum) and Tamara Meade (Tweedle Dee) work well together, and you know there will be the odd wink and nudge when they get the audience on side with the “oohs” and “ahhs”.
I saw a 7pm show and I think there would have been more noise and interaction if it had been an afternoon show, although there was a lot of hooting and hollering at the curtain call. Especially with the expectation of meeting Alice in the foyer afterwards! Every child’s delight.
The show has come to Melbourne from Brisbane and will be on a whirlwind tour through the summer school holidays. It is one that will delight its young and older audience. People just can’t get enough of Alice in Wonderland.
Follow the link for performances in Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney.