Alice in Wonderland

Date 8th January 2017
Society Bath Unity Players
Venue Kingwood School Theatre, Bath
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Katrina Cowie
Musical Director Julia Barratt
Choreographer Katrina Cowie/Deborah Curtis

Report

Author: Dee Way

The direction of the show by Katrina Cowie was very creative. The opening was intriguing, with Alice asleep, then in dreamland, while the rabbit hole fall was creatively done by projected film. The costumes were lovely and bright in contrast to the set and all the actors and dancers did very well in their roles. The first half might have benefited from cutting a little, perhaps, as it was rather long. However, the second half was energetic and full of fun. 

In staging this production, there were a lot of very good ideas. The caterpillar worked very well, apart from not being able to see its wings clearly after it pupated, and the Cheshire Cat, the card characters and Queen of Hearts were lovely! The hunting of the haggises on hobby horses was great fun! Every character was well played and knew their part, including the chorus.

The scenery constituted side flats and the large projection screen, with the centre stage built up for the caterpillar. This mix of real scenery and projection I found somewhat unsatisfactory on this occasion, as from where I was in the auditorium, we lost the bottom of the scenery projection in Act 2, probably due to angles of vision. It may be worth sticking to one medium or the other for each section of the production.  Also, at one time during a longer scene change, there was lighting on behind the gauze curtain, so we could see the stagehands at work.

Regarding the music, once again the mix of recorded and live music was a little distracting. Personally I much prefer the live music. The sound was well managed, with good balance on the whole between music and singers, with only one or two hiccups with microphones. The creative adverts during the interval were lovely, such as the ‘Three Pigs Construction Company’!

The dancing in the show was excellent again, with really good costumes, choreography and characterisation. The insect dance was great fun. The makeup was very good, especially for The March Hare, Knave of Spades and Dame Millicent. The group of flower power hippies was intriguing and fitted into the dreamlike production well.  

This group is building a good reputation for creative and inventive shows that are well planned and performed. Congratulations on a very good show.