It’s the perfect time of year for a trip to Wonderland and Bad Hats Theatre, along with Soulpepper Theatre Company, are allowing you to do just that! Alice in Wonderland, adapted by Fiona Sauder and directed by Sue Miner, is a magical journey for the whole family. Full of songs, laughter, and a beautiful message, Alice in Wonderland will have you believing in six impossible things before curtain call.
Now dear reader, I must admit that on Opening Night I was a bit of a white rabbit myself and was very late for a very important date. That is to say that due to parking shortages I unfortunately missed the first 10 or so minutes of the performance. While I was able to watch on the monitor from the lobby, I do want to be upfront about the fact that I did unfortunately miss a few minutes at the very top of the show. That being said, it didn’t change my absolute delight in this production, but there will be some tips at the bottom of my post to avoid a similar fate. The adaptation itself was fantastic, taking moments that audience members will certainly recognize from the various film adaptations, while also adding in delightful characters and moments from the books. I especially loved the Unicorn’s appearance in this production, the caterpillar’s transformation at the end, and the Mad Tea Party (a perfect representation of what the adult table conversation sounds like from the kids table). It’s a delightful adaptation that’s been beautifully directed so that you can totally feel what’s going on with minimal sets and props. I really enjoyed that with your program, you’re given an assignment sheet and a pencil, just like the one Alice is having to present for her class. It adds to the immersive nature of the production while also putting you in the same mindset as Alice.
Alice in Wonderland truly has an ensemble cast, led by Tess Benger as Alice. The cast cycles through multiple roles as they help Alice along her journey to becoming a Queen of Wonderland. The flowers in the flower garden were absolutely hysterical and made that scene a personal favourite of mine (I think I’d also be a buttercup). Vanessa Sears plays the Red Queen and she is every bit the diva one expects of the role. Matt Pilipiak’s White Rabbit was delightful, and he brings such vivacity to the character. The joy and enthusiasm they all bring to the stage is infectious; you can’t help but smile the whole way through. They do an incredible job of making sure that this production is accessible to all audience members regardless of age; the little ones at the performance I attended were totally rapt throughout the performance.
With all of the hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season, it’s nice to just sometimes take a step back to a simpler time and Alice in Wonderland is just the play to do that. Yet I found myself crying at the beautiful message of the play which is just as important for the adults in the audience as it is for the kids. Alice in Wonderland has now been extended until January 7th so make sure you get out and see it before it closes! For more information and tickets, visit: Soulpepper Alice in wonderland
A word to the wise: GET TO THE THEATRE EARLY! With the Holiday Market in full swing, we made it to the Distillery District in plenty of time, only to be told that there wasn’t any parking available. After having to take the long way around to the other parking lot due to a closure on Cherry down to Lakeview, and then pleading for a spot to park, and then winding our way through the crowds, we were unfortunately late to the show. So if you’re driving down, make sure to leave PLENTY of time for parking. Personally, I’d recommend taking the transit if you’re able. It’ll save you a headache for sure! But also, enjoy the Holiday Market while you’re there! There’s lots to see and do and eat; it’s one of my favourite things to do this time of year!
Photo by Dahlia Katz