Set inside and around the gorgeous St. Paul‘s Church in Covent Garden, Iris Theatre‘s Alice Through the Looking Glass is a triumphant piece of ensemble work, that every adult should see as well as the children for which it is intended. The mood is set when the band ushers the audience into the cathedral and so starts a growingly mad adventure. While the first half feels somewhat long (but never uninteresting) the tale grows in the telling and the second half is simply outstanding.
The entire cast deserves praise but the standout stars are lead Laura Wickam and the hilarious Jos Vantyler whose Lion is worty of its own show. Other then Laura, everyone jumps between roles and Leo Elso also doubles as Musical Director, and does a fantastic job with the skilled actor/singer/musicians.
There is a question of who this play is best suited for. On the way out I heard a girl, no older then seven, exclaim about its quality. I certainly would have loved to be exposed to this at that age. However the adults in the audience (in a mostly adult audience on press night) seemed just as enthralled by the plays simple elegance. There is nothing really surprising in this production, and yet as it grows on you, you feel transported to Wonderland. When dealing with material as magical as the Alice tales it is hard to avoid the anything-can-happen-so-why-should-I-care. Instead we have a anything-can-happen-and-that-is-wonderful.
The magical setting that is St. Paul‘s contributes to this feeling. The sound in the church is ethereal and somehow the loud noises coming from nearby Covent Garden add to the atmosphere, as fitting as the barrage of egg puns. The charm that this lovely production exudes is a great testament to the classic source material and an absolute must-see. 4/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is currently showing at St Paul’s Church until Saturday 30th August. For more information on the production, visit here…