If you were lucky enough to delight in one of the two sold out seasons of Alice in Wonderland presented by Theatre iNQ in recent years, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Alice is back!
Following on from the roaring success that saw children discover (and adults rediscover) the magic of Wonderland, Theatre iNQ’s Through the Looking Glass is sure to transport audiences into yet another world where anything is possible.
Terri Brabon’s original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s popular book, will utilise two Alices: a ‘Big’ Alice, played by Elyse Phelan and a ‘Little’ Alice played by Theatre iNQ debutante Hollie Sams.
“Little Alice is guiding Big Alice to remember all the characters she met in Wonderland,” explained Hollie.
“We start with Big Alice,” Terri added. “But in Through the Looking Glass, it’s Little Alice who tries to get her to remember that she was a child once and that she should stop trying to grow up too quickly. Big Alice is trying to be an adult and looks down on her little sister; so her inner child, Little Alice, comes back and reminds her that even as an adult you don’t have to stop playing and stop dreaming.”
While Elyse and Hollie are new to their roles of Alice, they’ve both had their own experiences in Wonderland before.
“This is my third round of Alices,” said Elyse. “I started when Theatre iNQ originally did Alice in Anderson Gardens; I played the little sister Edith and the Duchess’ Baby. The next year, we lost our original White Rabbit [Rachel Nutchey], so I took on that role as part of Festival 2018 in Queens Gardens and now this year, I get to be Alice, because we lost our original Alice [Emma Smith].”
Hollie was scouted by the Theatre iNQ team after they saw her in other performances.
“My Dad is a play-writer and we do the Festival of One Act Plays and Short + Sweet,” Hollie said. “Terri came to see Short + Sweet and a guess she liked it and she cast me as Alice.”
“We also saw Hollie at Mulkadee, which was an Alice in Wonderland performance last year,” said Terri. “She was only in grade four, so she was just in the one dance, but I remember when she came on none of us in the Theatre iNQ team could look at any other kid but Hollie. Her face was just so joyous, she was having the best time and I thought at that moment: ‘that kid loves this!’”
While Elyse and Hollie are looking forward to rediscovering Alice’s world, audiences may be surprised to recognise many characters they’ve associated with Wonderland in the story. Modern retellings, including the Disney animation (1951) and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010), have often taken characters from the world through the looking glass and placed them in Wonderland.
“Through the Looking Glass is another adventure, in a different world,” said Terri. “It’s not Wonderland, but it contains variations on the other characters: the Queen of Hearts is there, but she’s The Red Queen now; and while Alice in Wonderland was based around a card game, Through the Looking Glass is based on a chess game. The whole world is imagined to be a giant chess board, with Alice trying to make her way from the beginning to the end without being taken captive. It’s all about her wanting to be a Queen and when she finally gets there it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”
This premise allows for the return of some of your favourite chracters from Alice in Wonderfland, including Arminelle Fleming as The Red Queen and Ron Pulman and Michael Gleeson returning as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
“We would encourage people who saw the first one to come along, but you don’t need to have seen the first one to enjoy it,” Terri said.
Theatre iNQ will present Alice: Through the Looking Glass in Anderson Gardens from 29 June to 14 July. Numbers are strictly limited and bookings are essential.