And runs very, very far.
If you did wake up to recall a night’s worth of dreaming in a similar vein to Neilson’s showcase though, you’d probably think you’d gone slightly mad, had eaten far too much cheese the previous night, or all of the above. Of course, we don’t imagine Lewis Carroll would have it any other way.
Neilson’s production is a journey through the bizarre wonders of Carroll’s mind, driven by creativity and wordplay rather than narrative, with, as in the original writing, very little plot to tie together the series of curious incidents Alice stumbles through in Wonderland.
The puns and double entendres are relentless. They’re at the centre of near enough every interaction and used to establish what little plot there is. And quite a few of them had us laughing out loud. It’s a script as clever and witty as Alice’s dream is wild.
The show was enjoyable for adults, though much of the script is directed at kids, and as a result can drag from time to time – Pat and Bill the Giant-Child Eliminators pandered a little too much and their comedy felt forced, and Nick Powell’s songs struggle to hit a chord, often straying from inventive to anarchy.
The huge form of the frantic White Rabbit and Gryphon’s crafted wingspan were at the forefront of an impressive range of costumes, and Welshman Alan Francis is one of the standouts as the dry-as-you-like rower turned soup chef.
Jess Peet is well cast as the eponymous Alice, inquisitively prancing from one scene to another with suitable oddity and wonder.
There may be times in this showing when you will wonder if you’ve accidentally stumbled into some kind of zoo-themed garden party hours after the wine ran out, but all in all it’s a terrific watch – and does splendidly in taking you out of the real world and into Carroll’s mind.
Star Rating: 3.5/5