Review: Alice in Wonderland at Canal Walk

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Alice in Wonderland at Canal WalkThe Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland has been reworked into 50 minutes of childish delight for Canal Walk’s holiday entertainment programme by theatre duo Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer.

In the role of Alice, Natasha Dryden trades in her brunette do for blonde locks and finds that blondes have quite a bit of fun, if you don’t mind being two different sizes in one day and having a high-pitched Queen of Hearts (Candice van Litsenborgh) calling for your head to be chopped off. The ever-late White Rabbit is played by Spud alumnus Rambo, Sven Ruygrok, whileGordon van der Spuy and Kyle Jardine keep teatime weird as the Mad Hatter and the March Hare.

While there is the occasional witty line thrown in for the parents’ sake, this production of Alice is exactly what it says on the box: children’s entertainment. This is not a show for nostalgic Alice purists, as understandably a few scenes have had to be cut to condense the story to accommodate the child-friendly 50 minutes. Don’t expect any flamingoes or painted roses.

That said, for enthusiasts the costumes alone make Alice in Wonderland worth the R70 ticket price.Alice’s blue and white dress has a million little details that one can appreciate from every angle as she spirits around Wonderland, while the Queen of Hearts narrowly misses the title of best dressed in her hoop-skirted dress, the saturated colours of which still can’t top her sound barrier-breaking squeal of discontent.

With a tiny cast, all cast members take on multiple roles. The extra space is filled up by a horde of puppets from a garden of rather rude flowers to a surreal Cheshire cat perched in a luminous tree and a dormouse cramped in a teapot.

The fact that the show is in a make-shift theatre in Canal Walk leaves no room for excuses. Taking a child to experience live theatre, especially one with performances this good, is a wonderful gift. Even if it means you squish it in between trawling the sales and shopping for groceries.

Catch a glimpse down the rabbit hole of Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer’s rendition of Alice in Wonderland at Canal Walk Centre Court from 28 June until 20 July 2014.

Jana van Heerden
janadidthis / @janadidthis
 

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