We had been promised an exciting, vibrant and dynamic production, a fast-paced, fun-filled show for all the family. It was certainly that, and much more.
Once again Ribcaged, with artistic director Owen Phillips and Keith Flood as creative director, have produced an original, innovative twist on an old story. This time working with Stage Change students who devised a contemporary multi-media take on this traditional tale, making full use of the projection facilities the Grand has to offer.
Their lively imagination and witty script, plus able delivery, kept the capacity audience engaged and entertained. The Backstage Pass choreography for the playing cards song and dance routines providing an excellent platform for them to display their talents and to enhance the script. They danced with such obvious confidence and enjoyment, although at one point I did wonder if they were competing with overly loud music.
To single out individuals in such a well cast group of players somehow seems inappropriate, but Keith Flood’s Queen of Hearts bore more than a passing resemblance to Dame Edna, and the scenes with her, the King and Jack were certainly a highlight.
Equally Richard Hoyle’s Mad Hatter’s frenetic tea parties ably supported by a Mad March Hare, with a definite twinkle in her eye, who was clearly enjoying every moment, and a delightfully timid dormouse were highly entertaining cameos.
Stephanie McKervill, another Ribcaged regular, carried off to perfection her confusing role of the Cheshire Cat, albeit with an East European accent !
Helena Fernley Brown as Alice must be congratulated for a flawless, confident and animated performance, and Mollie Webb’s White Rabbit was a delightful foil.
Sisters Lucy And Hannah Yates must have had great fun rehearsing their rapid repartee as Tweedles A&B. Whilst Lewis Reed, as the Caterpillar, delivered some very witty lines with cool aplomb which kept the audience laughing.
For myself this performance gave a whole new meaning to virtual reality.