by Julie Wallis twitter.com/nicenic63
Alice in Wonderland at the Old Rep, Birmingham
Childhood classic Alice in Wonderland is at The Old Rep on Station Street, Birmingham until Saturday 30th December.
I’m sure everyone knows the charming story of Alice who follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and ends in Wonderland having tea with the Mad Hatter and almost loses her head to the Queen of Hearts.
This is a particularly good version of a great story and I really did love it. The songs are upbeat and jolly. The characters are fantastically entertaining and with laughs aplenty, this is a great family favourite that the entire family can enjoy. With some awesome special effects, when Alice shrinks or is falling down the rabbit hole it’s all very theatrical but nonetheless convincing.
Alice, played by Grace Dean is a delight throughout. Grace moves with an elegance and dare I say it… a grace that is becoming of a ballerina and her graceful movements really does bring her journey into the rabbit hole alive as she falls and falls.
The show starts with plenty of audience participation as the White Rabbit (Ewan Goddard) arrives via the auditorium. Younger audience members get quite excited as a 6 foot tall rabbit with a Black Country accent is running around in a tail coat and asking directions to the stage.
The show is packed full of catchy songs and the audience is actively encouraged to join in with plenty of singing, clapping, yelling and I even saw some young audience members joining in with dancing from the comfort of their seats!
The Mad Hatter is brought to life by Alec Fellows-Bennett who does a superb job of making a story book character very real, and a lot more loveable than some Mad Hatters. The Mad Hatter and all his guests at the tea party sing another jolly song about moving One Place Round, as they all change seats.
Katie Paine as the Queen Of Hearts, the Queen who is a little too fond of shouting “off with his head” and could easily be a much scarier character. Luckily for us, Katie is not too scary, she is a lot of fun. Every good production needs a decent baddie. I was told by theatre staff member “the kids won’t boo her, will you try to start them off please”. But I couldn’t boo the Queen when she was so much fun, that would have been rude.
My personal favourite of the day was the Caterpillar played by Mark Collier, as the choreography for his footwork was amazing, but I equally loved the Cheshire Cat who was much more of a magical cat than I have ever previously seen. This Cheshire Cat really does disappear and reappear in front of your eyes. This production of Alice In Wonderland has a lot of very clever special effects, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises, so to see just how special they are you will have to visit The Old Rep.
Alice in Wonderland was the first play I ever saw, I was about 10 years old, and having read the book I was disappointed because the Cheshire Cat didn’t disappear. I can say, that seeing it again as an adult, I truly loved this production, it was a lot of fun, very clever and a great first theatre experience for even the youngest (and noisiest) of family members.
If a full on panto seems too daunting for your little ones, Alice in Wonderland is the perfect alternative.
Alice in Wonderland is at The Old Rep, Birmingham until Saturday 30th December. Book tickets here: oldreptheatre.co.uk/alice-in-wonderland
Julie was invited on behalf of #BrumHour to see Alice in Wonderland by The Old Rep. This isn’t a sponsored post and is Julie’s honestly held experience.