I didn’t see Paul Boyd’s Alice: The Musical at the Lyric twenty years ago, but I can’t imagine it was anywhere as camp and colourful as this year’s take on the original Lewis Carroll tale - which was my favourite theatre experience this Christmas - because after touring the world for two decades, I can only guess that this production gets better with every performance.
Alice: The Musical tells the story of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and her attempts to escape the clutches of the notorious Queen of Hearts (Allison Harding). Tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice (Ruby Campbell) in pursuit of the elusive White Rabbit (Christina Nelson), to discover a fantastic realm where nothing makes sense. On her journey Alice meets an assortment of strange characters, including the famous acting duo of Tweedledum (Rea Campbell-Hill ) and Tweedledee (Adam Dougal), the unpredictable and hilarious Caterpillar (Mark Dugdale), the Mad Hatter (Mark Dugdale), and members of his underground political movement the Tea Party including the March Hare (Adam Dougal) and the Dormouse (Rea Campbell-Hill), and the seriously mad inventor The White Knight (Adam Dougal) – overseen at all times by the enigmatic Cheshire Cat (Charlotte McCurry).
Just seven actors covered all the roles in this massive musical revival - and I have to compliment the nanosecond synchronicity in the choreography (well done Deborah Maguire) as well as truly West End-worthy singing and acting across the board. And although Ruby Campbell’s Alice and the icy /slash bonkers Queen of Hearts played by Allison Harding were both amazing, it was Mark Dugdale’s Mad Hatter and his caterpillar which enthralled me most. Both were absolutely en pointe. Christina Nelson also delivered a brilliant White Rabbit too, along with a few other roles between costume changes.
And on that note - THE COSTUMES!! As a fashionista first and foremost, I totally loved Gillian Lennox and Erin Charteris’ interpretations of the original illustrations, with a bit of Studio 54/Rio carnival thrown in for good measure. Stuart Marshall’s set was pretty spectacular too, especially when you consider the same stage delivers the ‘grown up’ theatre performance Bah Humbug each night after Alice.
All in all this is a truly Broadway-standard production and the big number finish left me baying for more.
Alice: The Musical will run at Lyric Theatre 29 November – 5 January. Tickets prices are Children: £12.50 Adult: £17.50, Family: £55.00. Discounts available for school bookings. For more information and tickets visit: