Alice in Wonderland review


This morning my wife, both children and I took the 24.1km drive out to Canal Walk to watch their latest holiday theatre for children, Alice in Wonderland. After the success of last year’s Peter Pan, we happily invested the ninety-five bucks per person only to “see the look on their little faces”.
Having left at 10h00 and only a third (if that) of the route done, we hit major traffic. By 10h25 we realised we weren’t going to make it in time for 11h00 and turned off the highway, hit the nearest Checkers and exchanged our tickets at the Computicket kiosk for the 12h30 show. Once done, and having contacted each of the other three families to let them know we were not going to see them, we back-roaded it through and arrived in time for some KFC before we joined the queue.
The kids all agog at the lights and the pageantry, we got some great seats in the third row, centre stage. Created by theatre duo Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer of Shakespearian-stroke-Baxter Theatre fame, it was sure to not only live up to its claim as quality children’s entertainment, but also offer a witty line or two for the sake of the parents. The 50-minutes of the show had to, understandably, leave out some of the flamingos. We did get the other suspects though, from the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Welsh Hare and, of course, a maniacal and screaming Queen of Hearts wanting to chop off everyone’s head. And Alice. We got Alice. Alice was cute. While Alice in Wonderland aficionados may have one or two issues with the flow and the pace and the overall plot (or startling lack thereof), you couldn’t argue with the costumes and the set. The colours and the music and the “bigness” of the whole thing is why you go.
And, sadly, colour and light and costumes and music were all we really got.
And speaking of music: when Alice started singing two nano-seconds in, I figured that what we were in for here was musical theatre. When a demon-possessed and red-eyed/red-mouthed purple flower started singing, I realised that we were in serious trouble indeed.
If the “look on their little faces” was anything to go by, the kids were just as confused as we were. As set after elaborate set was wheeled in and song after song was sung, my son’s head started drooping onto my lap and my daughter started holding onto my wife’s arm, tighter and tighter. As each infantile rant was completed and each confusing plot turn failed to turn, the smattering of applause in the theatre after each song indicated that I was not alone in this. Seeing Tweedledum and Tweedledee ritually sacrificed to the weather gods to get more water in the Cape dams may have assuaged my angst but, alas, they sang instead. And then they sang again, all the while putting on some confusing Walrus and Carpenter puppet show that…arrrrgh, forget it.
My wife had more fun watching the expression on my face than she got out of the show. At some point I figured that I must have passed out whilst still at KFC and, surrounded by paramedics and rubber-neckers, the entire show was my brain going through the throes of a bad acid flashback while my organs slowly, and mercifully, shut down.
But by all means, fork out the bucks and take your kids. I recommend taking the N1, where the start-stop-first-gear traffic may provide a little more entertainment and at least be a bonding moment between those trapped in your car.

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