From start to finish, the hugely talented cast of Holland Park’s production of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ created an atmosphere that is magical and exciting. Upon entering the open air theatre, performers from this opera production greet the audience. They are confident and humorous, ushering us to our seats, using well-known phrases from the book such as ‘you’re late!’
Each member of the audience is given a cushion to sit on, a kind of a ‘mobile seat’, which is to be carried around with us, as we are led around the greenery where different sets are laid out. The use of promenade- style is effective as the audience is led on a journey, following Alice through ‘Wonderland’. I feel that this technique, although powerful, is overused and sometimes disrupts the flow of a scene. However, instead of being constricted to a single stage; the various sets mean there is plenty of space and each set clearly represents a different location in ‘Wonderland’
The actors/singers are extremely talented. They have wonderful voices which are clear and powerful, despite not using microphones. They could reach a vast range of notes, covering the spectrum of high to low and sound comfortable with both. The performance is well acted and manages to capture the bizarre and hilarious characters in Wonderland.
There are a couple of dance sequences in the production, which unfortunately do not work as well as they could have. On occasion the actors are out of the time and these are not as polished as other parts of the production.
Will Todd’s music is well orchestrated and the live accompaniment adds atmosphere, though I cannot say I remember any of the tunes. The retelling of the story of Alice’s adventures is written quite well and it fits with storyline and with the change of scene and seating place, keeping the atmosphere and theme.
The costumes are wonderful- just as I had imagined them! They were eccentric, colouful and truly wacky! They complement the characters and their personalities, creating a fully developed performance on stage. The sets, although clearly recognizable as scenes in the book, are very basic. The Mad Hatter’s tea party was the best of the sets. The table was at an angle; again hinting towards the hurly-burly lifestyle of Wonderland.
Overall this is a good performance of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The talent is impressive and the stunning location inside one of London’s most beautiful parks, made the afternoon very enjoyable.
- Based on the book by Lewis Carol
- Director: Martin Duncan
- Libretto: Maggie Gottlieb
- Conductor: Matthew Waldren
- Composer: Will Todd
- Cast inludes: Fflur Wyn, James Cleverton, Robert Burt and Hannah Pedley
- Opera Holland Park, London
- Until 2nd August 2014
- Time: 15.00
- Review by Ariella Taub (age 14)
- 21st July 2014