Cheshire Cat has them rolling in the aisles

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‘ALICE’ by Laura Wade, gives Lewis Carroll’s traditional tale a new twist, as Alice’s adventures come to her in a dream just after the funeral of her brother.

The play, by the Youth Group at the Abbey Theatre and produced by Selina King, keeps the traditional characters and situations, but on this occasion Alice, who has been devastated by the loss of her Joe, is in search of ‘the heart’. What the heart is, becomes clear at the end.

It is an ambitious undertaking particularly for the young cast, and Alice, played by Daryl Anderson, is on stage for the duration. She has some very good throw-away lines and is at her best with these, entirely convincing as a modern teenager in a weird situation.

Also worthy of praise is Deanna Johnston as the Duchess, brilliantly dotty and confident in delivery.

Tweedledum (Jamie Smith) and Tweedledee (Siobhan Dear), played for laughs and got them.

Abby Easton was a confident Queen of Hearts, who was happy ordering heads to be removed.

Also confident was Terri-Marie Baker as the Mad Hatter, who had some nice verbal inter-play with Alice.

Other traditional characters included Ellie Barnet as the White Rabbit, Emily Barnes as the Caterpillar, Alanis Spink as the Hare, Georgia Ritchie as a Wonderlander and, sneaking in from his own nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty played by Laura Ballantyne.

But for me the star of the show was Keiran Robertson as the Cheshire Cat. He made the role his own, lavishly eccentric and worthy of a part in an adult production. Keiran is one of the cast whomI hope to see again in the future. Brilliant!

Stage managers are Heather Reid and Alan Johnston; set design was by Selina King and it was prepared by Dave Ferguson, Ian Anderson, Jim Jamieson and Duncan Reid. Painting was by Caroline Pennant Jones, Dorothy Parfitt and Lorna Maud. Stage crew comprises Dave Ferguson and friends, and the excellent costumes are by Lynn McNairn who was completely at home, having taken Alice in Wonderland as the theme for her own wedding! Bob Sawley was front of house and publicity was by Anne Smith.

The producer acknowledged assistance from Carol Bruce, Jacqui Cockburn, Jacqui Peal and Ruaraid Macfarlane.

An exhibition of suitably eccentric paintings by Caroline Pennant Jones is in the upper lounge.