Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Alice still leaves us wide-eyed

ONE hundred and fifty years on, and Alice is still one of the most celebrated figures

ONE hundred and fifty years on, and Alice is still one of the most celebrated figures in children’s literature.

She was created by Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) to entertain Alice Liddell and her sisters during a boat trip in Oxford, and has been enthralling and delighting readers and audiences ever since.

Robin Belfield and Simon Slater’s adaptation is proving to be a very popular choice for The Watermill at Bagnor’s big Christmas show.

Where else would you have a white rabbit who plays a mean trumpet or an Alice who dances the lobster quadrille with her feet while her hands play the clarinet?

The whole cast is fabulously talented and do full justice to Slater’s toe-tapping music, giving their audience many wonderful moments.

We were drawn in right from the start by a great dance of the dodos which they accompanied on their kazoos, and in the poignant song Beautiful Soup by the mock turtle (Oliver Izod) he accompanies himself on a saw — a most eerie and atmospheric sound, if you’ve never heard one before.

But there are challenges in bringing the story of Alice to the stage. She has to first fall down a huge rabbit hole, then grow extremely tall and also shrink to a minute size depending on what she has eaten or drunk but Neil Irish’s clever set manages to achieve the impossible, leaving the smaller children wide-eyed and the adults full of admiration.

Josie Dunn made delightful Alice, for whom we felt every sympathy as she made her way through a strange world peopled by the weirdest of creatures.

We all took the dormouse and the white rabbit (Ed Thorpe) to our hearts, and while Zara Ramm’s Queen of Hearts was undoubtedly the villain, her unpleasant traits were so delicately and humorously portrayed that even the smallest child wasn’t a bit frightened.

Alice in Wonderland runs until Sunday January 3. For tickets call the box office on 01635 46044 or visit

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