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'Alice' Transports Audiences to Wonderland

Monday, 25 January 2016

Audiences were enchanted by this year’s Joint Middle School Production of ‘Alice’, which bought Wonderland to life as it had never been seen before.

The story itself was Laura Wade’s re-imagining of Lewis Caroll’s classic, ‘Alice in Wonderland’. However, there were some major differences to the tale: instead of the pleasant riverbank, the adventure began at the grim funeral reception for Alice’s older brother Joe, who was killed in a drink-driving incident. With the Cheshire Cats becoming Alice’s fantastical conception of her cousins and the Caterpillar acting as Wonderland’s border patrol, nothing in this new version of the tale was quite as it seemed, and there were plenty of lessons for Alice to learn through the puzzles, jokes and riddles that she encountered.

The adaptation breathed new life and imagination into the well-known story, and the cast of Year 8 and Year 9 pupils did an excellent job of bringing the whole thing to life over the three nights of the production.

The whole cast threw themselves into their roles, delivering their parts with great confidence. Movement and dance played an important role, with the principal dancers giving great performances every night; particularly noteworthy was Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole, which was presented entirely through dance. The audiences each evening were really entertained by all of the pupils’ efforts on the stage.

The production was directed and produced by Girls’ Division English teacher Miss Toland, who was delighted with the run. She said, “The Girls’ Division Theatre was filled with staff, parents and friends eager to watch this year’s Joint Middle School Production. ‘Alice’ is a modern adaptation and impressive ode to the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. The cast of thirty-eight boys and girls did not disappoint. The production was a roaring success with superb performances from all involved. Rosalyn Harper, who played the lead role, deserves particular praise as she was never off stage; a star in the making!”

An excellent backstage team of Sixth Form pupils and members of staff organising the set changes, costumes and make up helped the production to run without a hitch, as did assistance from the Props Club and Costume Club to make ‘Alice’ visually stunning.

Mrs James and the Girls’ Division GCSE Food Technology students also arranged a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party prior to the Friday evening performance. This special afternoon tea included tea or coffee and hand-crafted cakes and sandwiches made by the girls. Tickets for this event raised money for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation (PMSF UK). This charity provides a supportive community for those who have or know someone with PMS, which is a rare genetic disorder.

Further fundraising took place for the charity LivLife through the sale of interval refreshments and a retiring collection. The purpose of LivLife is to provide free and relevant education and vocational opportunities to poor communities in Tanzania, in order to help individuals and communities to grow themselves out of poverty. The charity was founded by two Bolton School Old Boys in 2004, and the interval refreshments were provided by the group of Year 11 girls who travelled out to Tanzania in July 2015.

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The cast brought Wonderland to life on stage

The cast brought Wonderland to life on stage

Alice is stopped by the Caterpillar on her arrival in Wonderland

Alice is stopped by the Caterpillar on her arrival in Wonderland

A perplexing conversation with the Cheshire Cats

A perplexing conversation with the Cheshire Cats