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'Alice in Wonderland' based on the novel by Lewis Carroll. Adapted by David Savoy

Presented by Guild Festival Theatre, 201 Guild Parkway, Guildwood, Ontario.

Alicia Plummer as Alice. Photo courtesy of Guild Festival Theatre website

Olivia (Eun-Jung) Jon, Guest reviewer

“Alice in Wonderland” Guild Festival’s Feast for the Senses

Many of us have a nostalgic connection to Lewis Carroll’s tale of whimsy and enchantment. The Guild Festival outdoor stage certainly lends itself brilliantly to this classic. The story of the young girl in Wonderland is beautifully brought to life by Guild Festival Theatre, as was evident by the children’s laughter in the audience. Upon entering, even the concession had fantastic indulgences with Alice-themed drinks and treats that said “Eat Me”. It all incorporated the theme and sense of fun in this show.

When Alice (Alicia Plummer) chases the mysterious White Rabbit (Cayne Kitagawa) down a rabbit hole, things get “curiouser and curiouser”. Colourful characters such as the Mad Hatter (Michael Williamson), The Dormouse (Muhaddisah), and the March Hare (Shayna Burns) soon emerge and ultimately lead our heroine to the Queen of Hearts. Alice must find her way home again while avoiding the dreaded sentence, “Off with her head!” Along the way, Alice also meets Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat and the Mock Turtle (played by the company). For the performance I attended, director Tyler J. Seguin stepped in for Autumn Davis (who plays the Queen of Hearts/Dodo/Caterpillar and others). Kudos to Seguin for jumping into the role last minute! Well done!

The entire cast brims with energy and race around the Guild Festival Amphitheatre and even through the audience on occasion. I was exhausted watching them and genuinely wowed by the pacing and enthusiasm of each actor. Alicia Plummer is a plucky and vibrant Alice and carries the show perfectly. The Cheshire Cat and Jabberwocky sequences are genuinely delightful. Several young audience members were dazzled by the colour and ingenious use of umbrellas, pool tubes (creating sound effects), and even bubble dispensers (masterfully designed by Nancy Anne Perrin).

With outdoor theatre, one is at the mercy of the weather. Fortunately, the impending rain did not arrive until just after the show and only caused minor sound issues. Praise must be given to Stage Manager Angela Mae Bago and her team handling it as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would advise those with young ones to come prepared for the weather.

Final Comments: This show is geared towards and bound to be most appreciated by a young audience, but the whole family will appreciate the imaginative force behind this retelling of a beloved classic.

Playing at 201 Guild Parkway Guildwood, ON M1E 1P5
Running time: 90 minutes
Running: July 12 to July 22, 2023 Tues-Sat 7:30 pm; Sunday 5:30 pm
Director: Tyler J. Seguin
Adapted by: David Savoy
Stage Manager: Angela Mae Bago
Assistant Stage Manager: Taylor Hill
Production Designer: Nancy Anne Perrin
Assistant Designer: Simon Flint

Cast: Alicia Plummer, Shayna Burns, Autumn Davis, Cayne Kitagawa, Muhaddisah and Michael Williamson

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