Alice In Wonderland

Pupils from Cliffdale Primary Academy

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Chichester Festival Youth Theatre enjoys an enviable reputation for staging high quality youth theatre productions – and Adrian Mitchell's stage adaptation of Alice In Wonderland is another triumph in so many respects.

Director Dale Rooks's achievement is to instil in a 60-strong cast the importance of ensemble playing and discipline, to create an evening of wonderful imagery, songs and performances.

Amy Jackson's costume designs, which with Steve Elias's choreography give the show a 1920s essence, are a feast for the eyes and might easily have detracted attention from the actors, were their performances not so detailed, engaging and physically precise.

All principal performers give an excellent account of themselves, but mention must be made of Matthew Aldridge as a brilliant Mad Hatter, Helena Berry's Queen of Hearts and Ben Geering and Sam Peake as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Alice, played on Press Night by Emily Dyble, is wonderfully clear and precise. Ultimately, though, it's in the ensemble numbers that the production soars.

Lewis Carroll's tale is a masterpiece of nonsense, however, and this lack of a coherent narrative running through the set pieces did leave me a little unsatisfied, but this is the only significant weakness in an otherwise enchanting evening of theatre.