After last year’s delightful Northanger Abbey, Box Tale Soup’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland does not disappoint. All the familiar trademarks are there: the set that seems to fold endlessly out of one trunk, the charming puppets and even the newsprint costumes.
Once again just two actors, Antonia Christophers and Noel Byrne, use both their puppetry skills and their own selves to create an expansive cast. And Christophers’ Alice is so sweetly naïve that it’s quite a shock to notice that she’s also playing the part of some extremely cheeky puppet daisies. The matter of Alice’s changing sizes is also dealt with neatly, and with far less reliance on the puppets than you might expect.
The show picks and chooses wisely from both the Alice books, and selects some of the less familiar vignettes alongside The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and the superbly done Cheshire Cat. The script teases out a great deal of comedy from Carroll’s words, giving a welcome sharp edge to the sweetness.
Like all productions of Alice, though, this show suffers from the episodic nature of the text. As with the books, the Alice of this play wanders around with very little direction; the stakes are never raised any higher than the notion that it might be nice to get into the rose garden. This is a well-loved tale and part of its wonder is the sense of rambling dreamily with Alice through this strange world, but once put on stage it does seem a little inconsequential.
Unquestionably though, this is another beautifully accomplished show from Box Tale Soup. There’s thought and care taken over every part of the production, making it as wonderful as any wonderland could be.