Alice ~ Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

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An alternative pantomime is currently in-situ at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury and it’s a creative marvel. Alice is produced by Oxford based Creation Theatre and performed by a cast of four, three of whom take on multiple roles to superb effect.

Rachel-Mae Brady made a perfect Alice, she played the character in a thoughtful and intelligent manner. Indeed the show itself reflected the serious undertones with the ultimately ridiculous, very well. This, in my opinion has always been a story that works on many levels and is suitable for all age groups, because of the various ways in which one could ‘read’ the story.

This production included some puppetry to provide a clever guise for the alternating size of the title character. The dormouse was also played by a bedraggled looking puppet (worked by ensemble member Luke Chadwick-Jones), the puppet fitted in with the theme of the elaborate tea party, to a tee, though! Chadwick-Jones also played an acrobatic White Rabbit and captured the character’s ‘lunacy’ both physically as well as emotionally.

James Burton moved seamlessly between Pigeon, Mad Hatter and other characters, he took each part so well that it was easy to forget it was the same actor in a multitude of roles.

The set was minimal, yet engaging and there was good use of colour to draw one in to a scene. Especially so in the presence of the Queen of Hearts (who was having a full on nervous breakdown about her tarts, this was one of many roles played brilliantly by ensemble member, Emma Fenney).  Fenney was also a very ‘sexy’ caterpillar with a glorious costume which she ‘worked’!

The songs were fun, catchy and helped to maintain my own child’s attention, they were well placed throughout the production and all of the cast displayed excellent vocal ability as well a cornucopia of other talents.

Congratulations to director, Helen Tennison and the creative team on a beautiful piece of theatre.

Miss it at your peril! Click this link to book tickets and to see what else Creation Theatre have to offer: https://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/show-two and the following link is for The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury which is a fantastic venue: https://www.themillartscentre.co.uk/cms/

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