Alice in Wonderland and What She Found There at the Redgrave Theatre, Bristol

alice4THE students at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School are ending the year with a colourful flourish at the Redgrave Theatre, with a new adaptation of the books of Lewis Carroll by Philip Monks.

It all starts with a sepia image of Carroll (aka the Rev Charles Dodgson) and a group of friends posed in a garden, and as the screen disappears, the actors are revealed in the same positions.

One little girl, Alice, is looking for trouble. She’s too young to join the boys in their military games, and bored by her sister’s bookish goodygoodyness.

When a rabbit appears, what could be more natural than to follow him … and so the adventure begins.

This delightful adaptation, directed by Jenny Stephens, designed by Ruari Murchison and with John Telfer in charge of the music, runs at the Redgrave until 18th December.

alice1Telfer has taken familiar music from Gilbert and Sullivan, Lehar and Offenbach and provided appropriate new words, all absolutely in period with the original.

The show is packed with the beloved characters of Alice in Wonderland, brought charmingly to life by the versatile young actors.

Rebecca Hamilton’s irrepressible chuckle follows her meetings with various fantastic people and animals, and Harrison Reeves is an irresistible White Rabbit, with Erin Doherty as an unforgettable Duchess.alice 3

It is an ensemble piece, but Simon Riordan’s Tweedle Dee and Amy Barnes’ Queen of Hearts, as well as Martha Seignoir as the cook, the March Hare and the squirrel, were outstanding.

This Alice is a high-energy romp full of comic moments and delights for all ages.

My one criticism would be that the Redgrave Theatre is an intimate auditorium, and I can’t think that drama students wouldalice 2 need microphones to project to the back row, either in speech or song. Perhaps they were all learning how to use these increasingly common bits of technology!



Photographs by Graham Burke


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