The cast of Alice in Wonderland – photos © The Eye Snapper
Threatening clouds gave way to a sunny summer evening in Catton Park tonight as Strange Fascination Theatre enchanted a small but enthusiastic audience with their adaptation of the classic favourite Alice in Wonderland.
The five strong cast were kept busy playing the wide range of curious characters familiar to us from Lewis Carroll’s famous fantasy. Hayley Evenett took the lead role as a young Alice full of energy and confidence, dashing hither and thither with girlish glee. Jessamy James joined Alice first as her sister, then as a mouse, the March Hare and a rather decadent caterpillar with a shisha pipe.
A versatile Helen Fullerton gave us a wonderful scary Queen of Hearts, as well as a very sleepy dormouse and a rather disturbed mock turtle. Doubling as The Dodo and a frenetic Mad Hatter was James Ducker, with Director Simon Michael-Morgan chasing around as a perpetually late White Rabbit.
The delightfully colourful props, puppets and set were designed and made by Daisy Plackett and helped to create the magical world down the rabbit hole where Alice encounters all these curious characters.
The ensemble have built a lively show which captivates the watchers young and old, and is nicely timed to keep the attention of the youngsters unwavering. The actors sing a few songs to help the show along, with some rather charming background music from what sounds like a fairground organ. Watching the cast and audience dance the lobster quadrille to a Marenghi version of Y Viva Espana will stay with me for some time.

The Queen of Hearts Wields her axe!

No children’s show is complete without moments of peril and the Queen of Hearts shows every intention of going postal with her axe at one point, her remedy for any perceived slight being ‘off with their heads!’ But the show is gentle and friendly, with Alice making sure that any misbehaviour is swiftly stopped. The production does remind us of the fun that Carroll had with words and their meanings, and will leave audience members with some memorably concise definitions of familiar words and some great puns – ‘why was our teacher called ‘Tortoise’? – because he taught us! 

Strange Fascination Theatre are returning to Catton Park next Saturday afternoon and evening (29th July) and are off to Bungay Castle for  shows on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th August. Pack a picnic and a camping chair or two and take your kids to see this lively show for a delightful afternoon.
© Julian Swainson 2017
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