Last Saturday I had the joy of attending a performance of Alice in Wonderland performed by the St Peter Players at the Chalfont Community Centre.
The hall and stage area were decked out with images from the book such as red roses and giant tumbling playing cards. The mystical atmosphere was created for us the moment we stepped through the door and all that came after lived up to expectations. There were no weak performances. Every cast member performed with competence, assurance and commitment but even among such an able ensemble a few stand out: Steve Element created a charming and quirky Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, Neil Goulder, oozed eastern mystique and wisdom, the Red Queen played by Sarah Golding with a broad Glasgow accent – such creative character building – was hilarious and disturbing at the same time. Haydn Davis’s White rabbit was funny and loveable. We could all empathise with his perpetual sense of panic! Alice was delightfully played by Kirstin Stansfield and she captured her eternal childhood, but I still would have liked to see Alice played by a little girl.
The costumes deserve special mention as they were magnificent to the last stitch. The scene where Alice falls down the rabbit hole also must be extolled. The company used slow motion film to capture Alice’s weird experience. We all felt ourselves tumbling, eerily slowly and weightlessly into her underground world. The effect was heightened by the magnificent accompanying piano playing by Linda Saunders. It was a great evening’s entertainment, all in all, and I felt the same emotions I remember feeling when my sister read the book to me when I was only seven years old myself, like Alice!