First published in The Times, Tuesday December 5 2017
In true Wonderland style, the sign above the bar at Northern Stage reads: “We’re all mad here!” Yet the young audience members who have gone to the trouble of dressing up in spotless pinafores and Alice bands look out of step with what’s happening onstage. This festive show may share its title with the enduring classic but its raucous tone is a world away from Lewis Carroll.
First published in The Times, Friday November 25 2016
If you are going to stage Roald Dahl’s children’s adventure, the big fruit in question had better not be limp and past its best. Fortunately, when it comes to spectacle, Mark Calvert’s production for Northern Stage is both eye-catching and mouth-watering. The opening scene alone features the cast whizzing around the circular stage on scooters, a skipping routine and a basketball display, all set to Jeremy Bradfield’s jazzy live soundtrack.
First published in The Times, Tuesday December 8 2015
It is one of the most influential children’s stories of all time. Yet, when most people hear the title the image that leaps to mind is that of Judy Garland skipping down the yellow brick road in glorious Technicolor with her three dysfunctional companions in tow. It comes as something of a shock to be reminded that the ruby slippers, the Wicked Witch’s greenish complexion and even the phrase “There’s no place like home” were all inventions of the 1939 musical film version and nothing to do with L Frank Baum’s original 1900 novel.