Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

It’s safe to say that everyone knows at least many of the basic beats of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the surreal nature of Wonderland itself – whether in its original literary form or in the numerous adaptations, the story has become a cultural touchstone.

Alice in Wonderland at Shaw Festival

So any new adaptation has to make sure it honours the source material while bringing something new to the table. In 2016, the Shaw Festival is headlined by Alice in Wonderland as a theatrical musical.
As a relative contemporary of George Bernard Shaw, Carroll’s work fits right in with the festival lineup. This version is adapted by Peter Hinton, a Canadian playwright with an international profile for award-winning original works and interpretations.

Technological Advances lead to Production

His Alice in Wonderland has been three years in the making, and the level of technical preparation going into the performance is a new benchmark for the Shaw Festival’s performances. Over 150 costumes were handmade in great detail, from animals to the playing card guards with the actors’ faces printed upside down on the smock to replicate the two-faced card aesthetic. The Cheshire Cat will be a photorealistic digital cat, projected onstage and voiced in advance by Jennifer Phipps. Even the stage is mirrored to assist bringing the jarring but majestic vision of Wonderland to life.

Live Alice in Wonderland Music

The music in the play’s performance is composed by award-winner Allen Cole, and features a 19-song soundtrack. The music is intended as a combination of tunes inspired by the book’s nonsensical versions of popular contemporary tunes, and original scores taking lines from the book as verses.

For the 2016 Shaw Festival, Alice in Wonderland will play from April 27 until October 16. Tickets are standard pricing but family packages are also on offer.

Aside from how well it adapts the themes and nonsense logic of the book, the biggest challenge for the play is its technical flair – how well it can render the reality-bending nature of Wonderland on the stage. If Hinton’s team can pull off this combination of practical effects, lavish costuming and computer effects, the new Alice play promises to be a major crowd-pleaser.

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Shaw Festival Theatre
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