Over the bank holiday weekend, Immersion Theatre's Alice in Wonderland offered a charming way to spend the afternoon. Funny, colourful, energetic, with impressive cast and catchy songs, it was an ideal family friendly outing that had kids, parents, this reviewer, and even her date giggling.
An ideal family friendly outing
The cast impressed me before the show even got started, as they waded into the audience for a casual meet and greet in their heavy costumes. As Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Thomas Cove and James Sterling skipped about in puffed up, dungarees and long sleeves, serenading children with impromptu songs based on their outfits. Jack Ballard as the White Rabbit was in similarly heavy costuming but wore a cheery, engaging smile, and I could tell the cast was committed and that their young audience was wholly engaged before the first act even began.
And when it did begin, I was – though about 25 years older than the target audience – none the less swept up in a technicolour joyride perfect for the summer day.
The cast of five was delightful as a whole, with Bryony Buckingham oozing Alice's naive charm, and Charlotte Fishwick bringing a delightfully droll take to her roles as the Cheshire Cat, Door Mouse, and Queen of Hearts. But it was Thomas Cove in his turns as the Mad Hatter and Tweedle Dum (or maybe Dee?) that fully stole the show. The Mad Hatter's Tea Party was unsurprisingly the play's highlight, and Cove's hilarious, animated performance was the special ingredient that made it shine.
While it's not quite the Disney version, Immersion's Alice had its own unique charms with just enough modern touches – puns and references for grown-up viewers were cleverly woven in, and plenty of physical gags for the kids. (There were several little water stunts which we were all grateful for in the 28 degree heat).
Coming it at just under two hours including intermission, Alice in Wonderland was utterly delightful – it's a perfect pick for families, and the playful tone of the show was perfect for me too, kids or not.