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Alice in Wonderland - Derby Theatre

Reviewed by Bethany Hill
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review.

Don’t be late, late for a very important date at Derby Theatre this summer! Discover an all-new version of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical tale of Alice in Wonderland and step through to Wonderland until Saturday 6th July. This show is the epitome of inclusion and just confirms how magical theatre can be for all!

Photo by Pamela Raith

In this well-loved tale, we meet our heroine daydreaming of adventure when she spots a curious white rabbit. She decides to follow it; suddenly, she’s hurtling through the rabbit hole and into a wondrous and whacky world. Upon arriving, she finds that the way of life in Wonderland is truly different from the English countryside she is used to. In this world, being different is feared and signing (using BSL) is amongst the many things to be banned from the kingdom. 

Charming Cheshire cats, evil queens and cunning caterpillars all whisk Alice away on a host of adventures. But will Alice stay and face the wicked Queen of Hearts with her absurd band of allies or scramble back up that rabbit hole to safety?
You are immersed in the joy of Wonderland from the moment you enter the theatre. With photo opportunities, special ice cream flavours and even white rabbit ears to wear (which of course we as two adults made full use of), the fun of the production oozes through the theatre. When you enter the auditorium itself, the bright colours and card deck theme are striking, transporting you to Lewis Carroll’s world in an instant with familiar sights including the famous red roses as well as fun new additions including a working playground slide! The accompanying music including the dance of the sugar plum fairy only adds to the magical atmosphere.

Photo by Pamela Raith

By far the most impressive element of this production is it’s inclusivity. The focal point of this new production is the integration of BSL and captions through the entire performance. At the heart of the show is the message that being different shouldn’t be frightening and that all are welcome, celebrating our differences and the ways we communicate instead of shying away from things we don’t understand. Characters like Jack, the cook and Alice herself communicate with BSL throughout the show, using supporting characters like Dinah to portray the spoken English of these characters. Theatre as a whole has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity and accessibility and shows like this are pioneering in the way they are able to integrate such features seamlessly and in such an enjoyable way. 
Looking around the audience, it became clear that this was a show for the many and not the few and the beaming smiles on the faces of audience members showed how incredibly valued this experience was.

The performances in this show left nothing to be desired; the talent and joy radiating from the entire cast was infectious. Not only could they act, sign and dance, but many also played their own instruments and sang the original music too! Alice is played by Rhiannon May, who managed a perfect balance of young whimsy and naivety and then incredible strength of character. This was mirrored beautifully by Brooklyn Melvin’s Jack, who stood up to their tyrannical queen of hearts mother with pride and determination. The queen herself was played by April Nerissa Hudson, who was such fun with such a playful style as a villain whilst also bringing a softer, more vulnerable side to the character. Naomi Gray’s Mad Hatter and Dominic Rye’s Cheshire Cat brought all the aspects of these well known characters we’d long for whilst adding a fresh twist too. Becky Barry did a wonderful job of leading the action alongside Alice as loveable cat Dinah.

In fact, the entire cast gave wonderful performances and were a huge hit with the audience. Nicola Werenowska’s production at Derby Theatre is truly a beautiful piece of accessible theatre for the whole family. 

Alice In Wonderland is a magical and crazy tale for all ages and would make a perfect family outing this summer! The show is playing at Derby Theatre until Saturday 6th July and 16 - 25 year olds can even enjoy £5 tickets on Friday evening performances!


Tickets for Alice in Wonderland are available from

Photo by Pamela Raith

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