A review of Alice in Wonderland Jr.
As the lights dim at Edward Milne community theatre, you’re probably thinking that the show will be… not bad. Disney, all children, so it will be cute, right? After all, half of the cast is between 5 and 10, so you shouldn’t expect too much. You might also be thinking that even with lots of enthusiasm and a skilled production team, most of the cast have never performed before so… they’ll try hard, but let’s not get our hopes up. Right? At $12 a ticket for all ages, you should only expect marginal entertainment. Right?
The show opens with a bright, vibrant presence of young talent, all smiles and smooth, coordinated movement. The vocals, largely dominated by the chorus, are strong and cheerful; and yes, with perfect pitch and enunciation.
One of the many “pleasant surprises” with Alice in Wonderland Jr. is the mind-blowing skill of the principals. Caitlin Thompson, Kate Robertson and Nona Robertson (small, normal and tall Alices) are brilliant, who carry the perfect demeanour for the production.
Angel Fitzner, Grant Lewers and Hannah Geisler-Magnus (Cheshire Cats) have the perfect mixture of slyness and fun that keep the production moving forward. Tyler Scheubel (White Rabbit) hits the high notes with impeccable accuracy while adding the right amount of frantic energy during his opening solo. Mercer Balzer (Mad Hatter) is absolutely hilarious, and times his antics perfectly during his first appearance in the famous “Tea Party” scene.
Vanessa Drmla and Courtney Schutt (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) are appropriately silly, and Arran Was-Little (King of Hearts) gives a performance rich with sincerity as he tries desperately not to upset Johanne Thompson (Queen of Hearts). Jamila Parkinson (Caterpillar) has amazing vocal prowess and energy.
Alex Bidner (The March Hare) gives the air of a performer with years of experience, and Carina Strong (Doorknob) is beyond adorable. Sammy Radlfinger (Do Do Bird) has impressive stage presence, and a winning smile that will win you over instantly. Kierra Balzer, Raven Van Netten and Shale Rainshadow (Violet, Rose and Lily) are also noteable through their confident movements and humorous badgering of Alice during “Golden Afternoon.”
If you missed opening weekend, tickets are still available for Nov. 16 – 18, with Friday performances at 7 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2 p.m..
Colourful sets, great music, excellent choreography and fantastic vocals are all part of this show that will leave you smiling, clapping and singing along. The new generation of talent within our community has made their mark, and you want to be a part of this magical experience! Next stop – Wonderland!
Contributed by Joe Scheubel