SUTCo’s production of Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass is a delightful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s work that captures the humour and surreal nature of the novels.
Unlike the 1951 Disney film which combines elements of both, the play follows the plot ordering of the books, giving the play a different feel for someone who had only seen the film.
Opening to a scene of a picnic, complication ensues as Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Though difficult to simulate the effect of someone falling down a hole for 30 seconds, they manage to pull it off with a rather trippy sequence of Alice shimmying about under blue lighting whilst voices chanted out “down, down, down”.
Owing to the sparse set, the production makes good use of lighting and screens to maintain the ethereal feel of the story and distinguish between reality and fantasy.
The Mad Hatter’s tea party is brilliantly executed, with James Huxtable and Kate Alhadeff giving great performances as the Mad Hatter and Dormouse respectively. Similarly, the trial scene stands out as, despite the risk of a hiccup with most of the cast onstage at once, the quality of acting is sublime.
“Cerys Hayes and Helen Coyle steal the show”
However, it is Cerys Hayes and Helen Coyle that steal the show. Hayes performs consistently well as Alice, despite being most under scrutiny for faults throughout. Likewise, Coyle’s portrayals of the White Rabbit, the Lion and the Carpenter are spirited and energetic; most of the laughs on the night must be attributed to the actress as her comedic acting capabilities hit all the right spots.
SUTCo’s production concludes on a grey and dark note that somewhat contrasts with the silliness and bizarre nature of earlier scenes of the show but complements the nature of Carroll’s masterpiece.
Overall, Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass is a fantastic show that is to be recommended highly.