Alice’s Journey into Wonderland

Date 1st May 2012
Society Chester-le-Street Theatre Group
Venue Park View Complex, Chester-le-Street?
Type of Production Musical?
Director Julie Dryden
Musical Director Chinami Smith


Author: Gordon Richardson

Choreographer: Catherine Smith

It was a privilege for me to view this first night performance of an original script (based upon the writings of Lewis Carroll) wrtten by Julie Dryden, who also directed. The role of the author Lewis Carroll was played by Peter Lynn who ‘guided’ the audience through the trials and tribulations of Alice’s journey into Wonderland as he told of the story through song and narration. Teacher 'Edith' (Sheralyn Allon) showed empathy to her pupil as she encouraged her imagination. Alice, played and sung impeccably by Courtney Crawley,showed her inherent ‘goodness’ as she rallied the many characters she met along the way of her journey of imagination – the ever ‘dithering’ White Rabbit (Bradley Milburn), Jack the Sparrow (Owen Saunders) with his somewhat flawed character, and the ‘ever so polite’ Cheshire Cat (Emily Furmedge). Comedy ‘slapstick’ was provided by the ‘Tweedle Dum’s’ (Caitlin Cowan and Nicole Goulding) as they interacted in a manner reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.

The Mad Hatter’s tea party was a sumptuous affair as the trio of Mad Hatter (Martyn Hampton-Mathews with strong Scottish accent), March Hare (James Cooper) and Dormouse (Alex Smith) each took turns to be that little bit more eccentric than their predecessor.
The Queen of Hearts was played with powerful drama and voice by Michaela Crawley as she constantly demanded ‘Off with their Heads’ to everyone who crossed her. None more so than simple, but kind hearted, Knave of Hearts (David Robson) who progressively became more injured throughout the production because of the cruel ministrations of the Queen. Victoria Cowey, who ‘graduates’ after this show into the older section of the group, played the role of ‘Duchess’ in the Queen’s court.

A tuneful chorus including Fish and Frog Footmen, 'Cook' and a marching set of playing cards with the Ace and King leading the pack added to the fun, singing many upbeat songs specially arranged by MD Chinami Smith. Special mention must be made of the technical side of things, visual projections of falling down rabbit holes, sound design, stage crew, make up, costumes and choreography all appeared to come together well. The older section join with this junior group for their next production of Sound of Music – get me a ticket..........