Alice In Wonderland (review). Go down the rabbit hole at The Stables

Lewis Carroll’s surreal Alice In Wonderland is brought vividly to life in an enchanting and highly original show now entertaining families at The Stables.

By Anne Cox
Friday, 27th December 2013, 11:42 am
Alice In Wonderland. Photo by Pamela Raith.
Alice In Wonderland. Photo by Pamela Raith.

The venue always likes to do things differently at Christmas and it spurns traditional pantos in favour of animating children’s classic tales.

In the past we’ve had Pinocchio, Heidi, Treasure Island and The Secret Garden so the potty, manic world of a child’s imagination is a perfect stocking filler for youngsters.

“We’re all mad here!” Exclaims the Cheshire Cat - and he’s not far wrong. The production, from Proteus (who brought their acclaimed Secret Garden to The Stables in 2012), just shows what you can do with a small company of versatile actors and a cracking script.

Alice In Wonderland. Photo by Pamela Raith.

Along with the live performers there are also a menagerie of superb puppets. The aforementioned Cheshire Cat caused shrieks of excitement from the young audience in on the day I viewed the show while the White Rabbit had them jumping up in their seats.

Charlie Thomas-Chandler’s Alice is a bit of a daredevil who falls out with her sister and then down a rabbit hole. She finds herself in a strange land where animals talk and a rather imperious queen threatens to behead subjects at the slightest whim.

Alice discovers a bottle of liquid that makes her shrink and a “magic mushroom” that makes her grow again. The whole story is rather trippy.

There is some clever slight of hand and a cameo appearance by a quite magical and tiny Alice.

It’s impossible to cover all of Alice’s adventures but director Mary Swan has come up with a pacy and energetic story that is just the right length for young and fidgety theatre-goers who may be enjoying their first visit to a professional show.

One of the hardest-working performers is Yanick Ghanty who appears in more than four roles that are all hugely physical. One minute he’s the March Hare who is undergoing a wondrous transformation and then he’s back as the Mock Turtle, a panicked playing card who can’t keep up with the pack and the weird caterpillar.

He’s a delight to watch and wildly funny.

Nick Ash, Helen Crevel and Betty Kitter deftly take on a dozen roles between them as well as handling the puppets and providing music. It must be insane backstage with everyone constantly changing characters and elaborate costumes!

Alice In Wonderland is running until January 4 with matinees and early evening performances. For tickets and more information contact the box office 01908 280800 or go online www.stables.orgFollow me @LBOanne