Review: Wonders aplenty with Alice in another Playbox triumph in Warwick

Laura Woodhouse, who shares the role of Alice with Olivia Hass. Picture: Lorentz Gullachsen
Laura Woodhouse, who shares the role of Alice with Olivia Hass. Picture: Lorentz Gullachsen
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Nick Le Mesurier reviews Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, presented by Playbox Theatre at the Dream Factory, Warwick

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is not your conventional Christmas show. But then, with Playbox Theatre, conventional is the last thing you expect. This is big, bright beautiful theatre, bristling with original energy and fun.

Playbox specialise in ensemble theatre in which there are no stars as such - though Olivia Hass as Alice, and India Wellman as the imperious Queen of Hearts, and Guy Gregory as a very cool Blue Caterpillar captured my heart. It’s the group playing that matters, the dancing, the singing, the immaculately choreographed stage craft, and the total energy of the thing.

The show follows the progress of the book pretty closely. In a dream Alice descends to a magical world at the end of a rabbit hole where she meets a host of magical creatures. She shrinks, she grows; she asks the big question: who am I? She doesn’t get an answer, not as such, but she learns that life is not all it might seem and that what matters is to be curious and to know love.

Playbox are blessed with facilities that many theatres would kill for, and they put them to good use. They deliver truly inclusive theatre of a kind that can only be done with a really big cast and lots of resources, not least talent. Occasionally the vibrancy risks becoming a little overwhelming, but I don’t think there is any theatre in the region, professional or amateur, that has quite the same reach and ambition. Now Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland adds a bright new star to their firmament.

* The show runs until New Year's Eve. Call 419555 to book.