Last Thursday I woke up, looked out the window and saw the rain pouring down. This didn’t bode well for our evenings adventures. We had kindly been invited to review Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at The Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Birmingham.
Luckily throughout the day the sun came out and the weather was just right for the outdoor performance. We set off, with a picnic blanket and some snacks, not entirely sure what to expect as we hadn’t been to an outdoor theatre show before.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was performed by Chapterhouse Theatre Company, as part of their Summer 2018 outdoor theratre tour. There was only one performance at the MAC, so we were lucky to be able to catch it before it continued its national tour.
The show was performed in the outdoor auditorium at the MAC. Seats aren’t allocated so a good idea to arrive early to get a good spot. However, as it’s not a huge space you will get a pretty good view wherever you sit. The seats are concrete and you are offered a small sponge cushion as you enter. Lots of people had also taken blankets to sit on and cuddle up, as well as picnics to enjoy.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland stayed pretty close to the classic story by Lewis Carroll. All of the favourite characters made an appearance including the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts. The story itself is a little weird and wonderful, but I think that makes it all the more fun for children. Mini particularly enjoyed when the Cheshire Cat separates his head from his body.
The cast were relatively small and there were a few quick changes behind scenes as they seamlessly transitioned between characters. It was great to see them all perform with plenty of energy and enthusiasm throughout the performance.
The set was relatively simplistic and didn’t change throughout, apart from a few props that were introduced on stage. I would imagine this is due to the limitations of performing outside and also only doing one show in each theatre. I feel that they had made the best of the circumstances however, it did leave some parts of the story needing quite a bit of imagination to follow with the basic set design.
The performance introduced new songs and the children were invited to dance along with the cast in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Scene. This worked really well in the open space and was a good way to interact with the younger members of the audience.
It was lovely to see the performance outdoors and the beautiful fairy lights in the auditorium added to the magical feeling. Being outdoors definitely added to the fun of the evening and also made it feel more relaxed. At the end of the show, all of the children were invited to meet the cast and have their pictures taken, which Mini was very happy about.
The performance consisted of two acts of around 40 minutes each. Just long enough for little ones to keep their attention, and not too late a finish time before bedtime. During the interval, the bar inside the Mac was open, which offered a good range of snacks and refreshments.
We all had a fun time watching Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and would definitely look forward to another outdoor theatre performance in the future
For upcoming tour dates of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland until 2nd September 2018 please visit the Chapterhouse Theatre Company Website.
Disclaimer: We were invited to review Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Midlands Arts Centre. All views and opinions are entirely our own.