With Alice ever at its centre, the stage is framed by a staggered bibulous shape that tapers down the further back it goes. It is at once both cloud and thought balloon – a balance between dream and waking that makes the perfect setting for one of the most famous literary flights of fancy.
Weaving all manner of spectacle, outrageous performances and puppets – a true Wonderland is assembled. The audience are thrust immediately into Carroll’s imagination from the outset thanks to the strong choral work from the ensemble, book-ending the show with a fine example of the author’s inventive language.
Beginning with the White Rabbit, whose “I’m late” entices Alice on her adventure, the ensemble play a myriad of familiar characters – from the Mad Hatter’s tea party, to the Queen of Hearts & her playing card infantry.
Georgina Walker gave a lovely performance as Alice, an engaging mix of experience and innocence. There was economy among the spectacle in the way she moved through the story; with difficult effects such as the shrinking and growing Alice undergoes being conveying solely through her physicality.
Embracing quality acting and production values, along with a very palatable running time, Alice in Wonderland strikes a compelling middle ground with a show that has something for both children and adults to sink their teeth into.
Alice in Wonderland
The Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Performances: 9 January 2018 – 7.00pm
Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Performances: 14 January 2018 (1.00 & 4.00pm)
State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney
Performances: 18 – 19 April 2018
Image: Georgina Walker stars as Alice in Alice in Wonderland – photo by GW Photography