Alice in Wonderland

Date 11th January 2020
Society Chorley Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society
Venue Chorley Little Theatre, Dole Lane, Chorley
Type of Production Play
Director Liesl Cook and Charlie Kemp
Producer Emma Threlfall and Zach Eccleston

Report

Author: Jim Briscoe

This is a play by Brainerd Duffield based on the story by Lewis Carroll.  I think we all know the story... Alice plunges down the rabbit hole and becomes involved in those madcap and deliciously satiric series of adventures immortalized by Lewis Carroll... wonderful entertainment for both children and adults!

What I love about Chorley Youth Theatre productions is the fact that it is not only youth on stage, but youth in charge of everything to do with the production.  For this play we had Liesl Cook and Charlie Kemp (Director’s), two young people who, if you read their programme notes, use phrases like ‘ unbelievably rewarding’,  ‘learnt a lot’, ‘grateful for the opportunity’, ‘this experience has truly been wonderful’ – these kind of opportunities are life changing events. We also find young people ‘producing’ the play - Emma Threlfall and Zach Eccleston. Emma Manley (Stage Manager), Hannah Borer (Assistant Stage Manager).  Sets/Props were all painted / made by young people under the guidance of dedicated adults.

It was evident throughout that everyone on stage really enjoyed being part of this production as they all demonstrated great energy and enthusiasm. There were some truly great performances and some wonderful prospects for the future! I probably should not start naming individuals for fear of doing injustice to others, but I feel it would be remiss of me not to take a chance and mention some of MY personal favourite characters and favourite scenes and I’m sure if you ask anyone else in the auditorium that night, then they would have their own personal favourites, so here goes...

The ‘Show Stealer’ for me, without doubt, was Myah Brookfield who was terrific in the role of ‘Alice’.  Myah was a perfect fit for this role which she really did make her own.  Great stage presence, never out of character, her diction and mannerisms were excellent... for one so young, who was involved heavily in every scene, this truly was a ‘first class job’  be ever so proud Myah...well done!

The roles of ‘Tweedle Dee’ and ‘Tweedle Dum’ were played ever so well by Georgia Budge and Eadie Gosling respectively!  Their scene with ‘Alice’ was perfection – they just bounced off each other, totally believable, great stage presence and great comedic timing... individually good / together brilliant - hilarious!   Be ever so proud, ladies!

Eva Bromilow played the role of the Queen of Hearts very well.  Ruler of Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts is a very domineering type of character whose sole aim is to remove ‘everyone’s head’. Eva looked totally comfortable portraying this character, good stage presence, totally believable and again perfect fit for the part.... well done, young lady

Ruby Johnson had all the attributes and made a really good ‘White Rabbit’... never still, frantic, manic, timid, always on the go... again totally believable, never out of character; a perfect fit for the role.  Well done, young lady!

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was a ‘highlight’ for me!   The scene was well produced and well acted... those involved included ‘Alice’, ‘The Mad Hatter’ played by Steven Green, the ‘March Hare’ play by Bradley Hodges and the ‘Dormouse’ played by Zak Whitbourn.  The chemistry between the four of them was excellent ...  well done everyone!

The rest of the cast were: ‘Cheshire Cat’ played by Eddie Chandler; ‘Red Queen’ played by Aaliyah Townsend; ‘White Queen’ played by Hayley Gaskell; ‘Caterpillar’ played by Harry Smith; ‘Duchess’ played by Rachel Moran; ‘Mouse’ played by Gabrielle McCarthy; ‘Fish Footman’ played by Ben Baxter; ‘Frog Footman’ played by Ellie Brookfield; ‘Executioner’ played by Eddie Chandler; ‘Jury’ played by Frankie Budge; ‘Mock Turtle’ played by George Gosling; ‘King of Hearts’ played by Gemma Essery; ‘Knave of Hearts’ played by Rafe Menzies; ‘Humpty Dumpty’ played by Libby Smith-Hughes; ‘Cook’ played by Georgia Budge; Gryphon played by Frankie Budge, ‘Two of Spades’ played by Martha Cook; ‘Five of Spades’ played by Ellie Wood and ‘Seven of Spades’ played by Ellie Brookfield.

Could I make a ‘special mention’ to the ‘creators’ of the projected ‘video effects’ which so enhanced this production, the skill of these amazing people never ceases to amaze me – again well done to those involved...the effects really were amazing and enhanced this play so much!

Just before I close this review can I just re-iterate about the ‘youth involvement’ throughout this production and every youth production here at Chorley Little Theatre.  It really is so ‘heart warming’ when I see any young person enjoying or creating anything but more so when I see them creating, producing, promoting and enhancing ‘Amateur Theatre’.  But, what is so obvious when you read the programme notes, is the fact that you can ‘feel’ the adult involvement, the adult guidance, the adult influence throughout....and when names crop up like Ian Brookfield, Sandra Dickinson, Paul Carr, Ceire Edge, Siobhan Edge, Ian Robinson to name but a few....then you just know that these young people are in such safe hands and are learning from some of the best.... so congrats to everyone involved in promoting youth theatre here at Chorley Little Theatre  ... not only for now, but for the future!

Thank you once again for inviting my wife and I. We thoroughly enjoyed the play and thank you for arranging for me to speak with Liesl and Charlie during the interval... really was encouraging to hear those two young people speaking so fondly about their involvement in this show and their thoughts for the future.  Look forward to seeing you all again soon.