Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and through the Looking Glass

Date 5th December 2019
Society Pershore Operatic & Dramatic Society (PODS)
Venue No 8. Pershore
Type of Production Musical
Director Sue Price
Musical Director Andrew Hemming
Choreographers Victoria Annis, Flick Aston, Mia and Michelle Brotherton, Debbie Clifford Smith, Nick Cosnett, Ness Haller, Lucy Miler & David Minton
Producer John Payne

Report

Author: Bruce Wyatt

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, are two of the most famous nineteenth-century children's fantasy novels. Director Sue Price created an inspired musical version, involving all the well-known original characters, plus a variety of modern musical numbers, which blended in without feeling contrived.

For some, the story lines are perhaps a bit like Marmite and maybe illogical at times, bizarre or sometimes dark and the script retained these themes closely aligned to the original stories. However no better opening than ‘A Million Dreams’ from the Greatest showman, with the beautiful voice of Sue Poultney.

We are introduced to Alice, played on the night I was present by Mia Brotherton.  A completely accomplished performance, well projected and sung, displaying Alice’s imagination and curiosity. Mia even looked as you would hope Alice to look. Alternating with Mia during the run was Kiaragh Brown, who provided an equally convincing performance and I understand looked like Alice too!

The scenes followed many of the chapters from the novel, when we meet some excellent characterisations including the White Rabbit (Steve Miller), the Cheshire Cat (Rob Watts) and the Cook (Marianne Jones).

Amongst the Act 1 highlights were the scenes including; The Caterpillar when Sam Godber sang ‘Purple Rain’, The Mad Hatters Tea Party with Tim Shackley as the Mad Hatter and Sean Phillips (March Hare) and Lyndsey Kirby (Dormouse) who sang ‘Welcome to the House of Fun’, The Queen’s Rose Garden scene, with Suzie Tapley providing a strong performance as the Red Queen, was followed by The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, amusingly played by Paul Tapley and Sue Poultney.  Throughout the ensemble gave great support with some powerful singing and some great harmonies.

In Act 2, (Through the Looking Glass) Alice is older and this was well portrayed by Laura Morris. I enjoyed the scene The Garden of Flowers when Alice meets some strong minded flowers and observes a very effectively choreographed chess game. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee were played with enormous energy by Loren Howland and Issy Jones and Paul Tapley brought great expression and clarity to Humpty Dumpty on The Palace Wall. The Five Bar Gate scene included some proficient tap dancing peasants, to ‘Always Look on the Bright side of Life’ and the final scene is rounded off with ‘Celebration’ from ‘Kool and the Gang’.

The fixed set provided a great structure on which to play scenes on different levels and this was effectively lit throughout. The costumes were just fabulous in every detail and the band were excellent, never imposing, all supported with excellent sound. There were some interesting projections to compliment the action; in fact it was clear that a great deal of thought and hard work had been invested by the off stage production team.

The programme referred to this as Director Sue Price’s final show after 50 years involved in amateur theatre, of which she should be mighty proud.