Monkey turned 6 last week as regular readers will know, and we had a few treats lined up for him over the weekend. We’d been invited to watch the Creation Theatre production of Alice at The Mill Arts Centre Banbury last Saturday. Monkey hadn’t come across the Alice in Wonderland story before and I was interested to see how a 4 actor cast would portray this classic tale. As an extra treat, we travelled to Banbury by train which fuelled the excitement levels. The Mill Arts Centre is only a 5 minute walk away from the train station, which is ideal, although, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there is plenty of pay and display car parking around the area should you need it.
The Alice production is recommended for children aged 5 years and over and runs in Banbury until 2nd January 2016. I was a little anxious about how Monkey would be during the performance if I’m totally honest. We’ve been to the theatre both locally and in London a number of times now, but all of the performances have been very much ‘pre-school’ friendly. But Monkey was really excited and longed to get inside and take his seat.
He relaxed instantly, helped by one of the cast who was busily sweeping the stage and the audience. We soon got to meet the very acrobatic March Hare, Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, amongst other characters from the classic Lewis Carroll tale. Monkey was mesmerised from the start, it made no difference that he didn’t know the story. Throughout the whole performance I only had to explain to him who the Cheshire Cat was, as three cast members held illuminated cats eyes and a huge grin up at one point to portray him.
The show is fast paced, funny, and very cleverly done. We watched Alice shrink to the size of a puppet and grow as ‘tall as a giant’ Mummy! as she travelled through Wonderland. I think one of Monkey’s favourite parts of the show was when Alice’s neck got longer and longer – very clever staging, which left Monkey spellbound.
The performance is covered in two acts, and involves some audience participation – flamingo croquet being a highlight. I’m not sure that Monkey fully understood the concept of Alice facing her fear of growing up just yet, but he loved the magic of the show. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and Monkey was riveted throughout. It made me realise that he’s ready to try new things at the theatre, which makes me so happy. Since leaving the theatre we’ve agreed that I’d track down an Early Reader of Alice in Wonderland for us to read together. Again, you can imagine how thrilled I am with this.
Tickets for Alice are still available either from The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury or Creation Theatre in Oxford. It was the theatre company’s first time in Banbury, and I really hope it won’t be their last. If you get a chance, I can thoroughly recommend the performance.
disclaimer: we were given free tickets for this event in exchange for an honest review