2015 marks the 150th birthday of Lewis Carroll‘s famous and much loved fanciful literary creation, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The landmark birthday has inspired various adaptations, including Les Enfant Terribles immersive production. The great thing with theatre is that although a company may start off with the same original text as everybody else, no 2 adaptations will turn out the same.
In the case of Opera Holland Park‘s production, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland celebrates the tales’ longevity with an operatic spin. Fflur Wyn‘s Alice automatically locks the audience into the iconic world, her blonde locks and blue pinafore creating a sense of security, as it’s made apparent that the production will stay true to the author and illustrator’s original visions of each character.
Once a controversial novel for its abstract ideas, Alice in 2015 appears tame in comparison. The tameness of the production is a quality that really stays at the forefront. This could be due to the family orientated nature of the narrative, but I can’t help but feel that the bold iconic characters, such as the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat are under played, and can afford quirkier. Directed by Martin Duncan, the production fuses the theatrical genres of Opera, Pantomime and West End Musicals to create a gateway for a younger audience to experience the Opera. This theatrical fusion works brilliantly, with memorable musical gems such as ‘Terrible Weather’, ‘Wonderland Blues’ and ‘Off With Their Heads’ keeping the audience enthralled.
Keel Watson‘s Caterpillar provides chuckles all around, his laid back, soulful, baritone vocals capture the imagination and Robert Burt‘s Pantomime Dame-esque Red Queen (Queen of Hearts) has everyone smiling like Chesire Cats as she finally makes her appearance. The continual musical score is the star of the afternoon. The musical landscape conducted by Matthew Waldren welcomes and guides the audience enticingly through Carroll’s comical narrative. A fun, friendly and traditional take on the much loved classic. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is currently showing at Opera Holland Park until Saturday 8th August. For more information on the production, visit here…
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