One of the privileges which my job affords me is the opportunity to build often-lasting relationships with the many children who pass through our programmes, and I was deeply touched when several, whom I have known for a number of years, went out of their way to invite me to their performance of Alice in Wonderland.
School plays have a reputation for being somewhat dire, an ordeal which parents endure for the sake of thirty seconds of video footage of their child playing the role of a tree. ‘Alice’ was nothing like that. An outstanding performance filled with music and dance, with fabulous costuming and a cast who seldom missed a beat (Alice’s brief coughing fit being the only disruption, which the young actress handled with aplomb), it was definitely well worth attending.
A major highlight for me was the opportunity to spot all the familiar faces on the stage, including, of course, the two young friends who had invited me along. Another was the performance of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sisters in real life, who delivered a star turn as Carroll’s double act. The White Rabbit was suitably flustered, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare suitably mad, the French Mouse gloriously ‘French’, and the Cheshire Cat both unsettling and balletic.
While not an exhaustive retelling of every point in the story – that would have taken far too long – it was a faithful and well-paced adaptation. Both students and teachers (and probably an awful lot of parents) had obviously put in a great deal of work, and it showed. I had a great night, and am very, very glad to have been invited. My only regret is that it wasn’t appropriate for me to take photographs and I couldn’t find any online, so I can’t show you all just how awesome it was.