Wonderful seems the most appropriate word to describe the wonder of The Southwick Players’ production of Alice in Wonderland.
Great family entertainment, this festive musical was not strictly a pantomime, as the Players are known for each Christmas, but there was plenty of audience participation, with sing-a-longs, “he’s behind you” and lots of boos and cheering.
The set was stunning, with the pages of a giant storybook turning regularly to keep us updated on progress and a special film of the characters out and about cleverly extended the on-stage action.
With a 10-show run, there were two people playing Alice – Anna Gould and Katy Mattmann. On the evening of Saturday, January 5, it was Anna taking the lead, and lead she did, giving a strong performance in the key role.
The audience were involved right from the start, with Ron Common as the White Rabbit meeting, greeting and chatting with young and old alike as people arrived.
This adaptation has lots of great tunes and follows Lewis Carroll’s story well, as Alice meets all the crazy characters in Wonderland.
Annette Sheridan was a jolly Dodo, leading everyone in the Caucus Race, while Jenny Burtenshaw was suitably pompous as the Caterpillar, 1920s flapper style.
Jean Clark as the Duchess and Barbara Isaacs as the Cook were hilarious with their shrieking “lullaby”, giving us all a chance to join in with the crash, bang and wallop noises.
Louise Yeo as the Mad Hatter and Susanne Crosby as the March Hare were equally hilarious, having great fun at the tea party.
And who could forget the Queen of Hearts? Helen Morris strode around the stage with great aplomb.