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Alice In The Walled Garden, Preston Manor, Brighton, May 14
The croquet lawn behind Preston Manor presented a bucolic scene, with excitable small children rolling down the grassy banks.
Director Jenny Lee showed Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole through hula hooping, while minimal props were used effectively to convey her changing size to get through the gates to a magical garden.
Leading the audience through to Preston Manor's Walled Garden at this moment was inspired – this enchanting space, with blossom petals gently drifting through the air, is magnificent.
Moving the entire audience around narrow pathways to get them in place for every scene took some time, but friendly stewards were on hand to make sure everyone could see.
The storyline, with Lysianne Thomas’s pert heroine exploring a confusing magical kingdom while being insulted and baffled by its dogmatic inhabitants, would have meant more to children who were already familiar with Lewis Carroll’s story.
But much of the wordplay went over the children’s heads and there was little audience interaction.
However, everyone was transfixed by Caterpillar (Danny Charles)’s calypso and the lugubrious song of the Mock Turtle (Morgan Philpott).
Colourful costumes and gentle music enhanced the spectacle of this quirky show in a magical location.