Pros: The music combined with the walking-tour of Wonderland make this a fun show for a family afternoon at the park.
Cons: The blunt narration of Alice’s thoughts and actions tended to slow the action a bit.
Sixteenfeet Productions breathes to life through music and enchantment in this adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice In Wonderland. In this version, Alice Behind the Walled Garden, the action literally takes you through wonderland with Alice.
Streatham Rookery Gardens provided a delightful backdrop to the play. This is a promenade play so be prepared to do some walking. Each act is held in a unique location within the garden. But it would also be a good idea to bring a blanket to sit on for the first bit.
The entire cast, with the exception of Alice, played multiple characters as well as instruments. The music didn’t just delight the children, as you’ll find yourself clapping along too! The score truly leads this production as it guides you from location to another. The most memorable song was The Lobster Quadrille, where the Mock Turtle and Gryphon perform the dance for Alice before pulling her in for the fun.
The best bit of scenery was for the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Situated near a pond with giant leaves that looked like something out of a Dr Suess book, it really brought the scene to life. Max Gould was an excellent Mad Hatter – he had that perfect touch of whimsy and urgency that the character needed. And all the kids in the audience laughed at his frolicking ways. Wendy Paver, who played both the White Rabbit and the Dormouse, was also delightful and had excellent facial expressions that got everyone giggling. Rosie Abraham as Alice was spunky and quite affectively captured Alice’s curious nosiness.
The designer, Lindsay Hill, really out did herself with the pink flamingo umbrellas, which served for adorable croquette sticks. The ‘flapping’ of the flamingos was brilliantly created by opening and closing the umbrellas.
What I found rather distracting, however, was how Alice and some of her supporting characters would actively narrate what she was doing. Instead of letting the action and dialogue show what was going on, it was spelled out. This was a children’s show and it is a device that can work, but personally it didn’t work for me this time. Also, you’ll want to make sure your little ones can see the action, and some of the spaces were rather cramped which make that difficult. The guides who follow throughout the show did a good job of trying to get all the children up front, but if you have a shy one then they might not be able to see what’s going on.
Overall, this play was utterly delightful. It’s the perfect show for little theatre-goers with the music and change of scenery will help them stay engaged throughout the performance. Alice Behind the Walled Garden is touring around London, but will remain at Streatham Rookery Gardens until 17 August.
Director: Nicholas Anthony
Producer: SixteenFeet Productions
Box Office: 07958 448690
Booking Link: https://kiosk.iristickets.co.uk/k?sixteenfeet&Alice
Booking Until: 17 August 2014