Alice in Wonderland – New Vic Theatre’s curiouser and curiouser Christmas production

This festive season see’s Newcastle’s New Vic Theatre celebrate their 60th anniversary by revisiting the greatest children’s story of all time. Until January 28, visitors can take a trip to Lewis Carrol’s peculiar and curious alternate reality with Theresa Heskins’ spectacular adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. 

The original Through the Looking Glass sequel was first published in the 1800s, and has bewildered and delighted readers and audiences for centuries. This Christmas production has brought the story to life with live music, on-stage magic, illusions and utter nonsense that will leave you completely blown away.

Set in the round, theatre goers throughout the generations can journey with Alice as she follows The Great Blanco through a trap door into a curiously enchanting new world, filled with even curiouser characters.

Andrew Billington

As she searches for a way home, Alice encounters strange and whimsical people, which include a disappearing Cheshire Cat, a chronically late White Rabbit, a Mad Hatter whose tea party never quite serves tea, and a bad-tempered Queen who is looking for her jam tarts.

This adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic was last performed at the theatre in-the-round in 2011, and is one of the New Vic’s best-loved Christmas shows, brought to life by the same creative team behind the theatre’s previous successful Christmas productions including 2021’s Beauty and the Beast, which has been nominated by UK Theatre for this year’s Best Show for Children and Young People.

Making her professional debut is Eleanor Fransch as Alice, who arrives in Stoke-on-Trent via narrowboat as an 11 and a half year old girl, mooring at what is insinuated to be Middleport, in search of something for her family to eat for tea. Immediately as the ensemble arrive on stage, the whole production has a ‘Greatest Showman’ feel to it, including twists, tricks and a more-than-triple-threat cast who can act, dance, sing, play instruments and perform illusions before your very eyes on stage.

Andrew Billington

Peter Watts was a clear audience favourite, with a booming voice and commanding presence, no matter which character he was playing, from The Great Blanco to the White Rabbit and the mechanics behind the Jabberwock. While it’s his first appearance at the New Vic, he fits right in among New Vic favourites like Danielle Bird, who you may remember from Beauty and The Beast, performing as the Mad Hatter.

Danielle’s eccentricity makes for an unsettling but unforgettable Mad Hatter, stepping into their kooky character with confidence, and with Michael Hugo – currently starring in Marvellous as Neil Baldwin – taking on the role from December 21, it give audience members the perfect excuse to go and see the show again.

For me, Purvi Parmar’s Red Queen was absolutely fantastic, pitch perfect and poised, going head to head against the White Queen, played by Victoria Brazier.

Andrew Billington

Magic and mayhem unfolds before your very eyes in this fantastical production, with cards appearing from thin air, while characters quite literally vanish before your very eyes. It never fails to amaze me what the New Vic can do with their space, from the innovative portrayal of the Cheshire Cat and Jabberwocky, to depicting Alice growing and shrinking to fit through tiny doors.

Unusual, unexpected and often unexplainable, this somewhat dark adaptation of Alice in Wonderland will no doubt delight audiences of all ages as they step into Lewis Carroll’s curious world of Wonderland. It’s an absolute must-watch, and is sure to get you in the festive spirit.

In true New Vic style, Alice in Wonderland is an adventure like no other, filled with fun, laughter and many magical moments, giving the young, and young-at-heart, a joyful festive treat this year.

Alice in Wonderland will take to the stage at the New Vic from Friday, November 18, 2022 to Saturday, January 28, 2023. For more information and to book, call the Box Office on 01782 717 962 or visit newvictheatre.org.uk

Andrew Billington
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