In a reimagined adaption of the children’s classic, Blue Raincoat’s production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is as odd as it is charming. Directed by Niall Henry, this is a play that takes its audience on a journey that’s as surreal as it is real.
Rather than rely on the fact that the tale is already much beloved, the cast and crew work together to breath a new sense of life into the piece.
Mixing genius sound design (Joe Hunt) with clever use of props, Wonderland is helped brought to life.
Each member of the ensemble brings something different to the piece. From the simple innocence of Alice (Miriam Needham), to the hilarious Brian Devaney (Mad Hatter); each character lifts the play into a modern world.
Alice goes through one madcap adventure after the other. From her interactions with the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat, each scene offers something fresh and utterly fascinating.
However, at times, some scenes can be too strange for their own good; and the audience can be left unsure whether to laugh or take the action seriously. One of these moments occurs towards the end of the piece, when Hillary Bowen Walsh appears as the Mock Turtle. She stands upon a soapbox and sings a song about morals through a variation of voices; going from deep to soft. Some audience read the moment as positively hilarious, whilst others take a moment to ponder on the significance of the song.
Nonetheless, Walsh’s performance is thoroughly enjoyable, as she expertly uses her voice and body to seamlessly convey her characters.
‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a play which appeals to children; yet ultimately bares so much of real adult fears. From the terror that comes with growing up, to the frustration which occurs through constant changing, Blue Raincoat have managed to hold onto everything that makes Wonderland shine, whilst maturing it to fit in with modern times.
Review by Kevin Worrall