Friday, 11 January 2013

Alice in Wonderland, ASC, Jan 8, 2013 ***

Adapted from Lewis Carroll by Glenn Elston, Australian Shakespeare Company
Rippon Lea House & Gardens, until Jan 26 (Tues to Sat)

Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 8, 2013

 The cast of Alice in Wonderland

Suffering summer holiday fatigue and need some lively outdoor entertainment for young children? Look no further than Alice in Wonderland at Rippon Lea.

Glenn Elston’s interactive, perambulating and colourful production delivers familiar, eccentric characters and zany scenes from Lewis Carroll: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Red Queen’s croquet match and kangaroo court trial, Cheshire cat, Mock Turtle and the giant Caterpillar.

Excited children get to dance and sing, scamper through an inflatable rabbit tunnel, play caterpillars and hedgehogs, shout answers to the Mad Hatter’s (Dennis Manahan) riddles and scramble between the legs of their parents during the croquet game.

The timid White Rabbit (Kathleen Douglas) teaches the littlies how to tell the time according to his own rules (“It’s not four o’clock. It’s tea time!”), and to sing along with his tune, I’m Late.

Gemma Bishop is charmingly naïve and warm as Alice, Ross Daniels is a hoot as the smug, contrary and nasal-voiced Caterpillar who seems to be affected by magic mushrooms.

Lea Porcaro is bold and bolshy as the Duchess who eats insanely modern cuisine such as mustard ice cream, and practises in tough love on her baby.

Terri Brabon is impressively murderous as the Red Queen who believes in sentencing before verdict and booms, “Off with her head!” at regular intervals.

The show also caters for an adult sense of humour and some parents even get to dress up idiotically as playing cards and parade around cheerfully during the croquet match.

Take a picnic, sunscreen and the kids and have a deliciously diverting time with Alice and her band of madcap pals.

The Wind in the Willows is also running at Botanical Gardens Tues to Sat until Jan 26

By Kate Herbert

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