Curiouser and Curiouser
An adaptation of the Alice in Wonderland adventures
by Penny Tuerk and Anne Connell
July 28th - August 1st, 2008
The Tower Theatre performing at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Review in "The Cornishman" by Frank Ruhrmund
This Alice is worth getting wet for
OPENING on a night more suitable for ducks than dolphins, getting wetter and wetter as its Curiouser & Curiouser :
Alice's Adventures went on, the Tower Theatre Company did well against all the odds to bring in such a cracking first act.
In weather terms a production of two halves, fortunately for actors and audience alike the second act was rain free, in theatre terms its whole adds up to much more than the sum of it parts, while in supermarket terms it's a case of buy one get one free as it gives us the best of Lewis Carroll's two classics of children's literature Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Adapted by Anne Connell and Penny Tuerk and directed by the latter, with original music by Colin Guthrie, it moves smoothly; but at pace, between the various adventures Alice experiences while journeying, ostensibly to reach the Eighth Square and become a Queen, but actually in moving from childhood towards the difficulties and delights being older has to offer.
Innovative and imaginative, laced with good humour but aware also of the elements of cruelty in the originals from the Queen of Hearts' fondness for executions, to the use of live flamingoes as croquet mallets - it is splendidly played.
The cast, from Amy Dawson as the enquiring and exploring Alice to Tom Tillery as the old Lewis Carroll who tells her story; and all those in between who share any number of parts, Mad Hatter to March Hare, and several of whom also double as musicians, could hardly be better.
However, as good as they are, at the same time it is one of those productions the success of which depends heavily upon the talents, effort and energy, of its backstage crew. The designers and the makers of the costumes that owe a lot to Sir John Tenniel's illustrations, the properties and quite ingenious furniture, and the puppets, masks and headdresses, not forgetting composer and keyboard player Colin Guthrie and his fellow musicians, and all credit to them for making it such a pleasure to look at and listen to. While purists might argue that not everything is here, it is guaranteed to please young and old fans of the adventurous Alice.
From the "Will You, Won't You, Will You, Won't You, Join The Dance" in the Lobster Quadrille to Tweedledum and Tweedledee, from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party to Humpty Dumpty and his explanation of the poem "Jabberwocky", while its "slithy toves gyre and gimble in the wabe", it is brill if not "brillig", and, as one regular Monday-nighter said, "Worth getting wet for!"
Extract from the Minack's 2009 Newsletter, reviewing the previous year's shows
Curiouser & Curiouser was conceived and written by two long standing members of The Tower Theatre, Anne Connell and Penny Tuerk. Combining the best adventures from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass the company presented a highly entertaining, innovative, and imaginative show splendidly played by a talented cast.