With Alice in Wonderland onstage at the Frances Kelsey Theatre, the students had a hit on their hands.
The word was out and Thursday’s opening night drew nearly a full house to see a full-on, lively and colourful presentation of this weird, wild tale by Lewis Carroll.
Alice (Katya Leslie Adams) is bewildered by what happens to her when she steps through a looking glass, and those watching get to go along with her on a series of strange adventures, that were well presented, through a variety of staging tricks.
Instead of following the all-too-tiresome trend of “modernizing” the show by making it all grey, or setting it on a cruise ship, director Anna Roberts and her gang played “Alice” the old fashioned way.
There was a White Rabbit, a Caterpillar smoking a hookah, a Duchess, whose baby turns into a pig, a crowned-and-dangerous Queen of Hearts and much, much more.
That also meant audiences got to see the pool of tears, the huge colourful mushroom, the trial of the Knave of Hearts, and all the well-loved scenes of the tale as everyone knows them.
Beloved by children and adults for more than 100 years, this story was also a huge cult favourite during the psychedelic era of the late 1960s, so the background music included some very appropriate Beatles tunes from that period, like ‘I Am the Walrus’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’.
The costumes really added to the authenticity of this show. They had to be, in a word, fantastic — and they were.
It was easy to see that, right from the first moments, the students onstage were really enjoying themselves.
They weren’t the only ones, as was noticeable by the applause that burst unexpectedly from the crowd at various points during the evening. It was just great fun all around, and deserving of a much longer run in a larger venue.