Review: Alice Back in Wonderland at Norwich Theatre Royal
PUBLISHED: 15:14 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:14 27 July 2017
In director and writer David Lambert’s 28th summer production with the Norwich Theatre Royal Youth Company he presents his imaginative take on Alice in Wonderland.
Fast forwarding to the future, the show starts with an older Alice, facing a difficult stage of her life, sure of the fact her adventures in Wonderland were just a dream, that’s until the White Rabbit appears...
From the moment the curtain rose on Alice Back in Wonderland the stage was full of ensemble cast members singing in unison. The vibrancy remained for the rest of the show which was full of feel-good songs, eye-catching dance numbers and above all, poignancy.
It was made more impressive by the knowledge that the young performers helped brainstorm the plot line.
I must confess I completely forgot that I was watching a youth production. The talent of the individuals involved, right down to the orchestra of young musicians, shone through as did their high level of professionalism.
There was excellent comic timing and delivery from The Duchess played by Dore Le Borgne, who had everyone in stitches, as well as Alice in Wonderland icons Tweedledee and Tweedledum played by Jamie Cleminson and Callum Adkins. I actually found myself quite hysterical everytime they came on stage. Their show stealing moment came during Act Two, Scene Three when alongside Alice, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit they sing “Which Watch is Which?” - which is a stroke of comic genuis in the form of song.
Praise must also be given to The Cheshire Cat played by Octavia Sharman, her characterisation was superb, so much attitude and slink, and the Red Knights, brought to life by Imogen Fitzgerald and Isabelle Frymann, who made the perfect duo.
The show’s ending was bittersweet as David Lambert came out to address the audience as this is his final summer show. There were tears from the cast, as they not only bid farewell to an excellent mentor but also to the theatre group itself as many of the older performers go on to graduate. The level of emotion only reinforced what the wonderfully generous donations from Shell - in funding youth theatre productions over the last 21 years - have given these young performers.
Alice Back in Wonderland runs until Saturday at Norwich Theatre Royal. To book tickets, visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.