A long overdue review...
It's almost four weeks since the premiere of 'Alice's Wonderland', at Scala Theatre in Larnaka. Our friend Catherine was the creator of this amazing stage show for children; formerly with Theatre Antidote, she now runs 'Little Muse Youth Theatre', and this is her first professional production under that banner. The show is loosely based on Lewis Carrol's classic 'Alice in Wonderland', with a nod to the 1999 film adaptation, which begins with a moody Alice refusing to sing for her rather harsh and pushy parents.
In the Little Muse version, Alice is played by Catherine, and all the other parts are performed by Lefteris, a musician who specialises in using recycled materials. As we entered the theatre, about twenty minutes before the play began, Lefteris was giving us a wonderful demonstration of his talents on the drums, with occasional calls of 'Alice!'
In Cyprus it's normal for people to arrive late, so it's quite a tribute to Catherine's advertising and charisma that the first members of the audience had waited for more than half an hour before they could go in. Invited guests had been allocated seats, but for everyone else it was 'first come first seated' - although in Scala Theatre pretty much every seat is a good one. And with ten minutes to go before the opening, most of the seats were filled:
Lefteris plays Alice's father at the start of the show. He's a travelling musician who really wants his only daughter to sing.. but she can't. Her early attempts at music are really quite painful:
However she's more than willing to announce her father when he performs:
He won't give up. He dresses Alice up, and is determined to make her sing:
In desperation, she runs away. And suddenly she finds herself meeting the oddest of characters...
Those familiar with the classic book will recognise them, but it's not necessary to know the original story. I was so engrossed I forgot to take many more photos.
Lefteris is a natural comedian as well as a musician, and manages to play the March Hare, the Queen of Hearts, and also the Mad Hatter:
The backdrop works like the pages of a book, something I had never seen before, moving back and forth to show us the different scenes - and it all works flawlessly. Naturally Alice learns to sing in the course of the show, and becomes more confident, encouraging the audience to follow their dreams. It's a message that might be thought most appropriate for older children and teens, yet there were children as young as two and three who were absolutely engrossed by the story.
This fifty-something adult was also captivated. The pace is perfect, with no scene too long, and just enough humour to ensure a little laughter without breaking the flow.
All in all, it was magical.
For those in Cyprus who would like to see this show, the 'Alice's Wonderland' Facebook page has details of all performances.