Alissa in Wonderland is a quirky, enigmatic experience down the rabbit hole that exposes the parallels between eight-year-old Alice and twenty-something-year-old Alissa, while providing a narrative of what it means to try and navigate through our own individual adventures of life.
Alissa in Wonderland is a spunky and kooky show.
From the beginning we are infused into the love that Alissa has for Wonderland. Waiting for us at our seats, we are introduced to a set of playing cards on our table, as if we have instantly been transported to the Red Queen's Court… minus the beheadings. Alissa discusses why her life and her outlook on the world is similar to that of Alice, seeing life through rose coloured glasses to protect herself from any dangers the world might set out her way.
As a performer, you really can’t flaw Alissa. Her repertoire of musical theatre, jazz and opera songs combined with her rich velvet tone breaks through the narrative of what it means to structure a show. Ultimately she has heart and intention that plays at the emotions of the audience as she exposes herself in such an intimate setting. Throughout her set, we are enticed with numbers such as My Favourite Things, Not Getting Married Today and Being Alive, but the highlight of her set was, perhaps, the
The Girl in 14G, which showcased her delightful coloratura vocal technique.
Throughout the cabaret, Alissa recites pieces from the Lewis Carrol classic, starting the second act with a delightful rendition of Jabberwocky; a cautionary tale discussing the themes of good verses evil - culminating in the death of the fearful Jabberwocky. Alissa likens this to her personal battles to find the good within the evil of her life; exposing herself to be the everyday person just trying to do right in the world.
Accompanying Alissa as she travels Wonderland are the outstandingly talented (in their own right) Paul Shine and Lily Kerhoas. Shine showed great artistry on both guitar and piano and their vocal abilities were revealed in songs with Alissa; the harmonies in their rendition of Pure Imagination and Pretty Woman lingered with me long after the show was over and left me smiling for days. Musician Matthew Jackson deserves a medal for successfully engaging all of the Sondheim pieces with artistry and comedy.
Alissa in Wonderland is a spunky and kooky show filled with a healthy dose of both digestible and challenging humour with current references. The journey closely mirrors the chaos, dizziness and thought provoking material that Alice in Wonderland accomplished so well. However, a show based on Alice in Wonderland deserves more ‘muchness’ and a true representation of descent into the rabbit hole. The talent was flawless but the show was lacking in movement, madness and… muchness.