The Norwich Theatre Royal Youth Company are heading back down the rabbit hole to Wonderland this week. Alice Back in Wonderland at Norwich Theatre Royal was written, directed and produced by David Lambert after a brainstorming session with some of the cast. It’s loosely based on the two classic tales, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Expect twists, turns and plenty of laughs set along to a live musical performance.
It’s some years after Alice’s first adventure in Wonderland and unfortunately her life has changed for the worse. Before she knows it, she’s thrust back into Wonderland and reunited with the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Caterpillar and the Dormouse. The kingdom is in turmoil. The Red Queen with her evil Jabberwocky and army of chess pieces have taken over. Time has stood still and the cards need her help! The only way to change the future of the kingdom was is to change its past. Would their hare-brained plan work and would Alice’s real life change for the better, too?
The White Rabbits Motley crew bought the madness of the story to life. Each character had a weird and wonderful personality which worked beautifully together to create some fantastic one-liners. The energy and bubbling excitement of the White Rabbit (Sam Ings) was complemented nicely by Mad Hatter’s (Ali Hunt) bonkers certainty, the weird and wonderfully hilarious Caterpillar (Kieran Crawford) and The March Hare’s (Isaac Wright) excitable curiosity and sharp one liners.
You had to feel for Alice (Matilda Bales), who had her work cut out trying to lead this hapless bunch. Bales took the character and commanded her with such confidence; she was the hero that Wonderland needed. Her strong will, determination and sweet naivety was juxtaposed against the powerful and evil performances by the Red Queen (Lauren Bryant) and The Duchess (Dora Le Borgne). Octavia Sharman put on a brilliant performance as the sneaky and sly Cheshire Cat, who was perhaps the real villain of the show. Her sass, confidence and provocative lines were extremely cat-like.
Throughout the performance the sheer talent and hard work of the confident young performers shone through. Alice Back in Wonderland at Norwich Theatre Royal was a truly heart-warming, uplifting and funny tale. Its direction and execution was excellent. The cast really held their own and developed a rather interesting bunch of characters. It was such a pleasure to watch a new generation of actors and actresses cut their teeth live on stage. The future of theatre is well and truly safe in their hands.