Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review: Alice - A New Musical at the St James Studio

Alice: A New Musical
St James Studio
Reviewed on Thursday 12th March 2015

A new musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Paul Harnett's production runs as part of the lunchtime theatre season at the St James Studio. The season is a terrific idea, as it seems a waste that many theatres are dark during the day.

Running for just 45 minutes, allowing Victoria office workers enough time to have a theatre-fix during their lunch hour, Alice: A New Musical features a new score by Daniel Williams and Jay Reynolds. Several numbers are fun and catchy, but frustratingly the mechanical backing tracks and sometimes dodgy levels distracted from my enjoyment of the score.

Written by Harnett and Rebecca Crookshank, the new book moves along quickly, adjusting various details of the story which keeps us on our toes. I felt as if I was watching a piece of family theatre so it was odd that not a single child was sat in the audience. If the creative team are trying to reach out to office workers and more mature audience members, perhaps a few more 'jokes for the adults' would prove beneficial. 

The performance of the afternoon comes from Kerry Enright who means serious business as The Queen Of Hearts. I have never heard someone belt so impressively before one o'clock in the afternoon. Enright's vocals are fierce, if We Will Rock You is ever brought back she would make a superb Killer Queen.

With further work and development, Alice: A New Musical could become something special. In terms of style and structure it is on the right track, but the script could be tightened and one or two numbers could be replaced. This was my first experience of lunchtime theatre... and I loved it! It's a brilliant concept,  next time I will bring along a sandwich!

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Alice: A New Musical runs at the St James Studio until Saturday 21st March 2015. Please visit www.alicethemusical.co.uk for further information and tickets.

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