Alice

Wed 27th – Sat 30th January 2016

reviews

Joanna Taylor

at 09:20 on 28th Jan 2016

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The ADC was packed and buzzing with excitement for ‘Alice’, a phantasmagoria of dance, acrobatics, gymnastics and circus tricks. Following the story of Lewis Caroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, with appearances from the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat, this is a spell-binding performance which is certainly not to be missed.

The majority of Alice’s story is crafted through dance and exhilarating acrobatics, and it is through these media that the production really shone. Each of the performers were incredibly talented, eliciting spontaneous applause and cheers from the audience as the Queen’s rose bush was painted mid-air, the Cheshire cat’s grin floated on a trapeze or Alice herself took ballet-steps around the curious world of wonderland.

The dance and gymnastics choruses were particularly effective, linking together different routines and displaying extraordinary skill in their art. The caterpillar was brilliant at contemporary dance- and hilarious in his interactions with Alice; indeed each routine was excellently choreographed and lent itself well to Caroll’s wacky tale. The variety of performances, as well as the layout of the stage, meant that the production felt very much like a circus, and this level of variety was essential to ‘Alice’s success: pole dancing could follow juggling, and dance was infused with poetry and drama.

Story-telling in ‘Alice’ began well and became stronger, and some dramatic passages- such as Alice’s unnerving encounter with Tweedledum and Tweedledee- fit well into the narrative. The performers’ talents did clearly lie in their dance and gymnastics, however, and not all of the acting blended well into the wider story. At times the show felt more like a series of acts than a play, and I expected a grander finale; although these are minor details, and to ask yet more of the incredible strength and stamina of the performers would be unfair.

The surreal world of wonderland was evoked through innovative staging and lighting, as well as through the dynamism of the acts. Few ADC shows can boast as much variety as ‘Alice’, display such talent, or gather such an appreciative audience. My prediction is that tickets to this charming production will sell out fast, don’t be late for this very important date…

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