Alice In Wonderland
Limelight Scripts
20 - 23 Feb 2013
Sue Hill

February I spent a delightful evening watching members of the Jubilee Players trying to make sense of the goings on in Muddleup Woods, in order to save the future of Wonderland. I had read the story as a child, and back then found it disjointed an difficult to make sense of, but I found myself enjoying the whimsical story-line in this production, perhaps far more than other productions of well known Aladdins and Cinderellas. So even though this story made for a slightly different pantomime, we still had a wonderful 'dame' in the guise of Alice's mother (Neil Phillips), a mystical wizard (Brian Lloyd), who held the key to it all, and the ridiculous jokes, that we've all heard before but can never think of the punch line quick enough, delivered brilliantly by Wally the Joker (Hannah Groves).

It was different because it was more musical than other pantomimes. It also flowed beautifully from set to set, perhaps aided by the deft movements of Alice (Alice Skippings) and the White Rabbit (Gabrielle Forrest). The opening number 'Sunshine lollipops and rainbows' was uplifting and relaxing at the same time, with the chorus's lovely rendition complimented stunningly with members dressed in cerise, white and black stripes! In complete contrast what wasn't relaxing was the Knave of Spades' (Paul Skippings) take on Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', wow those eyes, brilliant, and the music so unexpected. Another excellent copy was of Bonnie Tyler's 'I need a Hero' by the Queen of Hearts (Rebecca Chamberlin), which explains her violent frustration throughout the play, but culminating in happiness in the final scene when her simpering husband (so believably played by Neil Sumser-Lupson) finally gets the message! The sergeant and the soldiers were very long suffering with the Queen's violent outbursts, and I loved their hats, well I loved all the costumes, another characteristic of Jubilee Players' productions.

The up-to-date comments on the fallibility of Sat Navs, the dancing 'Gang Nam Style' and the modern day importance of fashion, with the caterpillar's transformation into the butterfly's wings being 'part of my summer collection' did not go unnoticed, as well as the cast's clever covering up of the very few prompts required!

Of course the Princess of Hearts and Prince of Diamonds (Holly Chamberlin and Cassie Mason) were safely married in the end, and played their parts just right for the pantomime's love interest.  True to the original script there was a mystical Cheshire Cat (Georgina Nobbs), wonderfully multi-coloured this time, and of course a Mad Hatter's tea party.  How the dormouse came out of the tea-pot I still can't make out, but well done scenery designers and Freya.

The movements and stage presence of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Graham Brackenbury and Jane Risebrow) were riveting.  I'm not sure why, they were just ponderous and great.  So well done to Ros Chamberlin for bravely giving us something different, which was definitely one of the best.  What wasn't different was the excellent commitment of the cast and production team in giving us such a professionally presented entertainment in our local village barn, which we must continue to support, thank you Jubilee Players.

The Marlpit