Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Alice in Wonderland: “You could see the kids really lighting up”

Broadcast Media Reporting the Arts

The Review Show Radio Wales , Sherman Theatre , December-15-18
Broadcast Media Reporting the Arts by The Review Show Radio Wales Criticism is opinion but opinion is the least of it. It is foremost description, that leads to evocation, and thence to evaluation. Three critics were at the Sherman. They did the job well with a result: I wish that I too had been there.

Selectively quoted:

“It's a full-hearted romp...a captivating set design...the pace of it and the energy of it was so frenetic I wasn't sure I could take it all in...that energy goes to good purpose. In act one you have the Duchess singing this big musical number, a kind of klesmerish song, at its closest to traditional panto.

...It was pretty exciting when you walk in and you see the set and it looks so dramatic. It really does bring that little thrill, it's going to be a big Christmas number...they didn't make a lot of the set because it looked so magical to begin with...it is used to really exciting effects where she gets bigger and smaller. They work really well...

“The set design was quite an important part of the story, in a narrative sense as well. Alice in Wonderland in the original story is a journey. The main character meets all these characters on the way...This journey feels as if it is taking place in one room. At one point in the second act they moved the set, expanded it and helped build the idea that she was travelling from one place to another.

“...In terms of the journey element one of the things I felt was missing was the idea of growing up. The differing people she meets represent different baffling aspects of growing up and being an adult that look completely confusing to children. In this it was more about finding a sense of self.

“...This production tried to make Alice about something different, an interesting decision...It was successful in some parts, the slapstick elements, it went a bit more panto, you could see the kids really lighting up..Led by Kieron Self and Hannah McPake...The Queen of Hearts, she was amazing, she gave that cross between Queenie from “Blackadder” and Norma Desmond, quite terrifying, utterly entertaining...Some great performances but more energy than magic?..The energy levels were so high, they were impressively high, they must be exhausted, you just thought, how are they going to sustain this?

...the Cheshire Cat scene, the performances were allowed to shine, where they could be a bit overshadowed when everything else was so hyper..the performers did a really good job with bodies and space and the way they used the costumes to expand or contrast. The Cheshire Cat really effective, her whole body became a giant Cheshire smile which was quite exciting.”

“Alice in Wonderland” continues until December 29th.

The review in full can be heard at:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001kjc

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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