Alice (3 stars)

This article is from 2016


credit: Johannes Hjorth

Busy mix of acrobatics, dance and physical storytelling brings Lewis Carroll's classic to life

You don't become England's oldest student drama club without learning a thing or two about production values. And it's unlikely you'll find many amateur companies that can access the cash, expertise and resources Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club has ploughed into this busy mix of theatre, circus, dance and song.

Alice in Wonderland is one of the most joyfully surreal works in British literary history, and this energetic young company taps squarely into the bizarreness of it all. The Mad Hatter holds a most preposterous tea party, the Queen of Hearts has a real delectation for decapitation, and Alice is suitably bemused by it all.

What impresses most here, however, is the addition of circus skills to what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward song and dance show. The aerial work is fairly gentle (though still impressive from an amateur troupe) but the acrobatics suggest that somebody in Cambridge is passing on some serious technique – and it's being ably picked up.

Ultimately, Alice is what it is – a student production, with all the spirit and enthusiasm that goes with the territory, but also the inevitable rough edges that come with young people still learning their craft. Visually, however, the set, costumes, technical rigging and strong direction all punch well above their weight.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until Aug 28, £8–£9 (£7–£8).


  • 3 stars

Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club Fresh out of a critically-acclaimed run in Cambridge, a highly talented troupe of student dancers and performers bring you a contemporary circus interpretation of the family classic Alice in Wonderland. Meet a break-dancing caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat dangling from a trapeze…