This is an accomplished show from Young Pleasance, which re-imagines Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with just the right blend of Carroll-esque surrealism and a new, fresh vision. This production is a beautiful homage to Carroll’s original work. By combining it with their own smooth dialogue and a modern perspective, whilst retaining Carroll’s most beloved characters – the daring Alice, the mysterious Cheshire Cat, the ruthless Queen and a very laddish Knave of Hearts – Young Pleasance manage to have their cake and eat it too.
Young Pleasance manage to have their cake and eat it too
Much of this is thanks to the cast, all young actors ready to make their mark at the Fringe. They are all extremely professional, with the main roles, especially Phoebe Stapleton as Alice, delivering very strong performances. Credit must also go to the production crew for the music, lights, set and costumes, as well as the excellent scriptwriting. The Wonderland setting is an excuse for extravagance and phantasmagoria, atmospheric music, and feathered top hats in this distinctly steampunk production. Though it lacks the finesse of a more adult company, everything is tightly choreographed, while onstage action is thoughtfully structured and synchronised.
Lovers of the original books and newcomers alike will enjoy the fantastical display, either recognising familiar scenes or experiencing the bafflement of Wonderland firsthand. Particular highlights of this reimagining are the love story between the white rabbits (“I’m late – for a very important date!”) and the displays of dream logic such as the ‘oubliette’ as the literal place where people are forgotten, or lines like “Straight answers can’t help you here Alice, they always get stuck in the corners”. The piece as a whole presents a strong storyline while retaining all of their source material’s whimsy, and this leads to a very successful conclusion (which I won’t give away). These young people are ones to watch.