REVIEW: JOURNEY DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. Alice in Wonderland at the Coliseum, West HQ

In the enchanting realm of live theatre, the recent production of Alice in Wonderland at the Coliseum, West HQ, proves to be a whimsical journey down the rabbit hole that leaves the audience captivated by its creative brilliance and eclectic ensemble cast. Helmed by director Penny Farrow and produced by Christopher Wood with Bonnie Lythgoe, along with the imaginative touch of creative producer Ethan Walker, this adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic novel takes the audience on a delightful, yet absurd, exploration of Wonderland.

The strength of this production undoubtedly lies in its ensemble cast, a group of versatile performers who seamlessly embrace multiple roles, adding layers of complexity to the already intricate narrative. The characters, ranging from the peculiar to the downright eccentric, are brought to life with commendable flair by the talented cast. Each actor skillfully navigates through the Wonderland chaos, creating a vibrant tapestry of personalities that keeps the audience broadly grinning from beginning to end.

The absurd nature of Lewis Carroll's original tale is skillfully translated onto the stage, with the production team paying homage to the whimsy and the surreal. From the Queen of Hearts' outrageous demands to the Mad Hatter's zany tea party, every scene was a visual feast of imagination and creativity. The music, set design, costumes, and lighting work in harmony to transport the audience into a fantastical world where logic takes a backseat, and the unexpected becomes the norm.

While Lewis Carroll's personal connection to drug use has been a subject of historical debate, this production subtly alludes to the author's questionable influences. The dreamlike sequences and surreal elements of the play might be interpreted as reflections of Carroll's creative process, offering a unique layer to the narrative for those familiar with the author's life.

One of the standout features of this adaptation is the quick-witted dialogue, tailored for adults who appreciate a dose of humour with their Wonderland adventure. The clever wordplay and sly references keeps the audience engaged, providing a delightful contrast to the playful nature of the show that makes it equally enjoyable for children. The production skillfully balanced its humour, ensuring that both younger and older spectators find moments to revel in.

Penny Farrow's direction deserves applause for orchestrating a production that seamlessly blends the fantastical with the absurd, catering to a diverse audience. The pacing is well-managed, although the dialogue sometimes delivered a little too quick for the gags to land, but the transitions between scenes are executed with precision, maintaining a sense of wonder and anticipation.

Ultimately, Alice in Wonderland at the Coliseum, West HQ, is a delightful and visually stunning production that pays homage to Lewis Carroll's timeless tale. With an ensemble cast that effortlessly navigates the landscape of Wonderland, this adaptation captivates audiences of all ages. The infusion of subtle nods to Carroll's own experiences adds a layer of intrigue, making it a thought-provoking experience for those familiar with the author's history. Whether you're an avid fan of the classic tale or a newcomer to Wonderland, this production promises an enchanting escape into the absurd and fantastical world that has charmed readers for generations.