Reviewed by Louise Watts
Alice In Wonderland is a classic children’s story written by Lewis Carroll. Beautiful Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in the very strange world that is Wonderland. We are all familiar with this story and the infamous characters within Wonderland.
Wicked Productions have taken this story to a whole new dimension and turned it into “A hilarious new family musical”. I attended the Assembly Hall theatre in Tunbridge Wells yesterday afternoon (13 April 2018) for the opening performance of Alice In Wonderland. It was OUTSTANDING!
I have never seen a show by Wicked productions before, but I will never miss one again. It was truly hilarious; the humour was at times close to the knuckle for a family show but that made it even funnier. There was a certain pantomime feel at times, but this just added to it. I always like a bit of adlibbing and the odd unexpected event such as the Mad Hatter losing his teeth on stage! For me it adds to the professionalism of the cast that they can get on and continue the show (after they have stopped laughing!) despite these unforeseen events.
The cast comprised of nine people. Ant Payne played both Tweedle Dee and The Mad Hatter. He was absolutely hilarious and reminded me of a young Rick Mayall with some of his facial expressions. He paired up with Tom Swift who played Tweedle Dum and the White Rabbit. These two were an incredibly funny double act but equally as funny when in separate roles. Ant and Tom’s Saturday Night Takeaway has a nice ring to it don’t you think?!
Jimmy Burton-Iles was the master of disguises playing the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar and the March Hare. A very talented and versatile actor with a lovely singing voice to match.
The leading ladies were Georgia Rowland-Elliott who played Alice and Amanda Swift who played the evil Queen of Hearts. Georgia played sweet Alice perfectly and was my 3-year-old sons favourite character whilst Amanda succeeded in being the audiences most hated woman within a few moments of her arrival, the sign of a true baddie and boy can she belt out a solo!
The chorus were also incredibly well cast and they all performed exceptionally well.
From the moment the show opened, I knew it had something special. The bright colours of the costumes and the clear lyrics had the children engaged straight away. The set was brilliant, almost ingenious at times and the songs were perfectly written for a family audience.
My personal favourite has to be the song about catching a fly. I fear there may have been some bruises to see at the end of the song!
There was constant laughter from the parents as well as the children and that to me demonstrates that they have written this musical perfectly as they have made the whole audience laugh regardless of age.
The Assembly Hall was a delightful venue as always and it was lovely to see it so full of families at 5pm on a Friday afternoon (Friday the 13th may I add). The facilities are always good and there is a bar and coffee shop serving drinks and snacks. The staff are always very attentive and friendly and the whole place has a welcoming feel about it. Parking is easy in the multi storey car park and the parking charges are very reasonable including a flat rate for evenings.
I would recommend this show to anybody. My son keeps asking when we can go back and see it again as he loved it. Personally, I would happily go and see it again. I will keep my eyes open for any other Wicked productions as having seen them once, I do not want to miss out on a guaranteed evening of entertainment and laughter.
If you are looking for a couple of hours of good family fun this weekend, then head down to the Assembly Hall and watch Alice In Wonderland. I promise the only person missing out if you don’t is you!
An absolutely well-deserved 5 out of 5!
Tickets cost from £16 (booking fees may apply).
Alice in Wonderland is at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from 13-15 April 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU | 01892 530613