City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 16 August 2011

Fringe 2011: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Show details
TaleGate Theatre
Running time: 
Lewis Carroll (original writer), James Worthington (director, script adaptation and original material), Kate Lindsey (lyrics), Marc Small (choreography), Harold Purvis (musical direction), Dan Baker, James Worthington (costume and props), James Worthington, Brian Worthington (set)
Alana Doherty (Alice), Kate Lindsey (Queen of Hearts), Rob Nicholas (March Hare), Danny Mills (White Rabbit), James Worthington (Mad Hatter),Laura Canadine (Cheshire Cat)

This show, from Retford based professional touring theatre company TaleGate Theatre, is as ambitious as it is vibrant and energetic. They have adapted Lewis Carroll’s classic tale about time and life’s utter absurdity to an hour(ish) long musical show without missing any of the essential elements of the story.

As the audience of mainly young children and their parents, guardians, and carers took their seats, the actors stood stock still on stage, an impressive feat with said small audience members completely ignoring them as they orientated themselves to the space and filled the seats to make this performance a full house.

My first impression was that this show would not work as it seemed to have quite adult lyrics (literally, not euphemistically speaking) with the cast seeming more engaged with themselves than with the young family audience.  However, as the show went on they warmed up and relaxed, chatting and engaging with the youngsters.

For a small company, stupendous effort had been made in the prop and costume department. The effect of making Alice a giant was very cleverly and comically done, Caterpillar was a brilliantly conceived puppet in a toadstool, the talking door at the start was quite magical and the Duchess’s pig/baby was also brilliantly and rather beautifully made. The giant White Rabbit was really effective; the big Pink Duchess was spectacular in drag and the Red Queen fabulously glamorous, dishing out horrible sentences in her court with relish.

The Cheshire Cat engaged with children as did the Cards and the March Hare but for this reviewer this intimacy came a bit late. A really good children’s show gets down on its metaphorical knees at the start and speaks at the child’s level. It is one thing for a children’s show to work at different levels, but the prime level should be that of the child.

While this committed and hard working cast gave their all, the show felt too long and too complicated for wee ones. The Fringe programme says it is for 2+ but it seems for older audience. At times it felt like a big musical shoed into a small place more than a children’s show. One child called out several times, “Where’s the Rabbit?” which kind of makes my point.

Show times

15-20 August, 12.45, £7 (£6)

22-27 August, 14.15, £7 (£6)

Five stars for the heckler.