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Alice in Wonderland review at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough – ‘a high-energy production’

Josie Dunn and Ebony Jonelle in Alice and Wonderland at Stephen Joseph Theatre. Photo: Tony Bartholomew
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Nick Lane’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic takes aspects of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass and reframes them for a local audience.

The re-invented Alice King is a Scarborough-born single mum – played with absolute confidence by Ebony Jonelle, making her professional debut. When Alice is transported to Wonderland, she leaves her two children behind. The challenge is to find a way back, meeting new friends and beating old adversaries on the way.

The in-the-round staging means there is nowhere to hide and the limited space is used to great effect, with very few props, in a show in which the characters, rather than the set design, are the main feature.

It takes a great deal of courage to allow a room full of children to throw things at you, and the five cast members take the challenge (plus multiple plastic balls) on the chin.

Paul Robinson’s fast-paced production holds the attention of the younger audience members, involving them in a pantomime-esque back and forth and several sing-alongs. The comedy is suitably chaotic and, while the plot does at times become convoluted, to the extent it loses some of its impact, this is well camouflaged by the Wonderland setting, in which anything can, and frequently does, happen.

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High energy alternative to the traditional pantomime stuffed with local Scarborough in jokes