Alice (Ellen Challinor) isn’t having much fun with her Nanny (Helena Hanlon) so when she spots a large, talking White Rabbit (Lexie Haslam), she decides to follow, with narrators Lewis (Elijah Houghton) and Carrol (Laia Mogan) recounting her journey and attempts to return home in this tale written and directed by Samantha Moores.
Going through the tiniest of doors in her pursuit, Alice enters a magical world where she encounters Leopard (Marina Forshaw), Wolf (Erin Pye), Mock Turtle (Mandi Roberts), Beaver (Reeve Keyte), and Owl (Sienna Sheridan), before further on meeting Tweedle Dee (Milly Sutton) and Tweedle Dum (Louisa Nelson) following which there is Caterpillar (Ella Davies) hoping to transform like its butterfly friends (Laila Muir; Lucy Simpson).
Things begin to liven up when she stumbles across Cheshire Cat (Poppy Trigwell) and Bill the Lizard (Darcie Trigwell) before encountering Duchess (Alyssa McCormick), Baby (Isla Coyle) and Cook (Forshaw). Further progress before the interval is hindered by a wall with Humpty (Sutton) atop and a couple of Guards (Amber Moss; Maisie Riley).
The second half introduces the Mad Hatter (Forshaw) and March Hare (McCormick) hosting a tea party with many of those Alice has already met in attendance along with a poetic Mouse (Aaron Moss). As her quest continues, she comes across some Cards (Coyle; Amelia Darwin; Amber Moss; Muir) with Card 4 (Lara Goodwin) particularly talkative although Joker (Marni) is happy to wield an axe on behalf of the Queen of hearts (Riley) accompanied by her King (Davies): will it be off with her head, or will Alice find her way safely home?
Community was at the heart of this production which proved to be a lot of fun for those taking part and for those watching. There were some well-choreographed routines from Amy Balfour with Riley as Lead Dancer, and the use of microphones addressed any concerns of young voices not being heard.
Stage management from Tony Dagnall ensured seamless scene changes with technical support for lighting (Les Dagnall) and sound (Keith Trigwell) complemented by the wonderful costumes (Moores and Karen Woods) on display, and with the cast performing well throughout, it meant a relatively quiet evening for Prompt Sean Hanlon.
Challinor was an ever-present in her lead role and did well given the many lines she had. I really enjoyed her opening routine with Mogan (who narrated well throughout), as well as her duet at the start of the second half with Marni who has a beautiful voice. Houghton also spoke clearly throughout and served up a strong solo.
Sutton and Nelson as ‘The Tweedles’ had great chemistry and were a delight to watch with their acrobatics and antics, whilst Forshaw, Haslem, McCormick, and Riley all performed strongly in their various lead roles. Poppy Trigwell delivered a strong all-round performance, with expressive contributions front and back of scene.
A special mention for Goodwin, Keyte and Aaron Moss who delivered their lines crisply, and for Lottie Woods who due to other commitments was unable to feature but has provided strong support to the cast and creative team throughout the rehearsal process.
Community in a wider sense was served with a fundraising raffle for ADAM – Achieving Dreams and Memories, a non-profit Foundation which solely relies on public donations & fundraising events. Further details https://www.theadamfoundation.co.uk/
Individuality Youth meet weekly for children to have fun exploring the arts and deciding whether they love acting, dancing, singing, or making up stories. Further details via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/people/Individuality-Youth/100072427717745/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Mark Davoren
Reviewed: 8th July 2023
North West End UK Rating: