Theatre: Alice In Wonderland at Derby Theatre

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I must confesss that I have been looking forward to this adaptation of Alice In Wonderland for the past 12 months, ever since it was announced as Derby Theatre’s main Christmas 2016-2017 production - and fortunately it more than lived up to expectations.

You could certainly deem it wonderful and if you fancy sampling this curious tale again - or for the first time - don’t delay, follow the White Rabbit to Derby Theatre before it’s too late.

There’s nothing better than seeing a production where all elements - not just the acting - click to make a fantastic whole and that’s exactly what has happened here.

Mike Kenny has taken all the key ingredients of Lewis Carroll’s classic story in his adaptation and added some elements of his own to create an enchanting, curious, enjoyable and fun experience for theatregoers of all ages.

Directed by Derby Theatre’s artistic director Sarah Brigham, the story is familiar but feels fresh in the hands of the Derby Theatre team.

The key Carroll characters are all present and correct - Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the Dormouse and the March Hare, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat and so on - and added to the mix you now also get a selection of catchy songs and music in a variety of styles courtesy of composer Ivan Stott.

As in previous Christmas productions, the multi-tasking actors also perform on a collection of instruments live on stage, to very good effect.

The costumes and the sets are both excellent - set and costume designer is Neil Irish, the excellent sets in particular having spirals and doors very much to the fore - while the sound design by Ivan Stott adds immeasurably to the pleasure of this theatregoing experience. A large screen at the back of the stage is also used to good effect, adding an extra element to the proceedings.

Among the cast, Abby Wain has the right mixture of feistiness, bewilderment and pathos as Alice, trying to cling on to something solid in this strange, constantly shifting world she finds herself in, while the rest of the cast display talent and versatility in both their acting and music-making.

Hats off too to the youngsters in the cast who more than play their part.

Alice In The Wonderland is on at Derby Theatre until January 7 and is a really enjoyable treat for all the family. Call the box office on 01332 593939 for ticket availability.

Photos by Robert Day