Theatre Review: Alice in Wonderland

A visually spectacular classic for the young and young at heart

A visually spectacular classic for the young and young at heart

Presented by: Broadway Haus in association with Bonnie Lythgoe Productions
Reviewed: 5 January, 2024

If you’re looking for something fabulous to do this weekend, follow Alice down the rabbit hole to Her Majesty’s Theatre for Lewis Caroll’s timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland. Produced by Broadway Haus in association with Bonnie Lythgoe Productions, there is something for both the young and young at heart in this luscious production. A lavish set in lilac hues with giant mushrooms, tea cups, playing cards and of course the infamous stopwatch, is just the start. Joined onstage by a colourful crew who assure Alice “we’re all mad here”, the players take the audience on a madcap adventure through Wonderland, featuring much of Carroll’s original words. A few variations to the original text made everyone laugh – classic Aussie “yeah, nah”, and a break dancing March Hare, to name but two.

Alice shrunk before the audience’s eyes when she followed instructions to “drink me”, and suddenly found herself the same size as her animal guides. It was not long, however, before she noticed that not much made sense and there was an awful lot of nonsense going on. Puppets portraying the various animal characters were bright, big and of Broadway quality. The quintessential Cheshire Cat came to life in a murky green-lit scene that allowed his famous grin to illuminate the gloom. The bumbling twins, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, were the cast favourites for my eight-year-old date and elicited many laughs all round. The Queen of Hearts was appropriately heartless, played croquet with flamingo sticks, and of course demanded ‘Off with her head!’

While the production was certainly visually spectacular, the script was perhaps a tad difficult for the real little ones. My date enjoyed the word puns and nonsense (especially a discussion about how school lessons should be shorter because they’re called “less”-ons…), however, some of this appeared lost on those littlies around me. For them, the attraction is the bright colours, puppets and movement – parents should consider whether their child can sit through an hour-long production that does mostly use older fashioned language. However, the eight-year-old expert proclaimed the show “ten-out-of ten, funny, great for kids and families and made me laugh my head off…which would please the queen!’

Reviewed by Samantha Bond

Photo credit: Robert Catto

Venue:  Her Majesty’s Theatre
Season:  12-13 January (three sessions daily)
Duration:  1 hour
Tickets:  $40.20-66.20

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