Cambridge Touring Theatre’s Alice the Musical is a great example of children’s fringe theatre, with simple set designs embellished by the high enthusiasm of the actors. Despite the blazing heat the show opens with a wonderful energy. The children, aged 3 to 10, sit in the front to be mesmerised, while parents and younger siblings can chill out in the back on their home-brought picnic blankets and chairs.
The interaction with the young audience is wonderful and a little tongue in cheek to make it amusing for the grown-ups as well.
The interaction with the young audience is wonderful and a little tongue in cheek to make it amusing for the grown-ups as well. Recurring little routines and a pantomime patter work well throughout the show to keep the little ones’ attention.
The musical has a few catchy tunes courtesy of composer Simon Humphreys and Cambridge Touring Theater has a well-voiced ensemble. Georgie Freeman as Alice is kind and naively curious. Yet here, Alice is almost the sidekick to James Clifford’s White Rabbit. He manages to play with his audience, from conducting the young ones in their “Oh dear” routines to the cheeky directorial note he takes at times.
Alice in Wonderland is pretty bitty in original form and this musical interpretation had less storyline, and focussed more on the famous scenes from the story. As a result there was no clear drive in the story and we were just moving from one scene to the next. Without any tension to help the plot, I felt the some scenes were a little long. The Queen of Hearts was a meanie but at no point were we scared of her, despite the countless cries of “Off with their heads”. Without a real need for our heroine to escape, the climax of the story, after nearly two hours, doesn’t feel quite that triumphant. Not that it mattered to the target audience, though they too struggled a little with the length.
Alice the Musical is a super friendly family show that should entertain even the very young. If the sun stays out though, do prep and slather on the sunscreen, wear those hats and drink enough water. That is what this sunburnt reviewer should have done!