Two young YMCA members took to pen and paper to put on their first debut production.
Alice’s Journey in Wonderland is the debut of two young writers, Sam McNeill, 13, and Beth Eltringham, 14.
The YMCA production follows Alice who journeys into Wonderland where she meets the iconic characters including White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and the Red Queen.
The show is a mixture of both the classic story written by Lewis Carroll in 1865 and Tim Burton’s film adaptation in 2010 and it works.
The two writers, who asked for the opportunity to write a show, clearly knew what they were doing when they produced the incredible script at such a young age.
The set, which contained two thrones on both sides and curtains that showed specific areas across Wonderland including the Red Queen’s castle, utilised the space by filling every corner with visuals including the decorated backdrops providing vital scene changes.
And to add to this, the young performers knew how to fill the stage. There were no sad faces in the audience but the show was probably more catered for parents with young children or parents who had children performing.
The limited stage space did not hinder the production and the talented team managed to produce a play that had everyone stood up and dancing by the end.
Liv Harrison, who played the lead role of Alice, managed to keep the audience engaged throughout the entire production and her confidence to get out on stage and sing held her role in the professional demeanour of an aspiring stage star.
As this production was a pantomime, the role of the dame character was brought in.
Sam McNeill, who played Deidre the Washer Woman, kept the children, and in some circumstances the adults, laughing the whole way through.
As one of the writers of the production, Sam performed his role perfectly and would expect to see him in the next upcoming productions reprising his role as the dame.
However, the role of the White Rabbit performed by Grace Taylor, really stole the show.
She was truly magnificent and her confidence performing solos was inspirational. She was an asset to the cast.
The rest of the performers tried their hardest to get the show to the highest possible performance and it was great to see.
They all knew their roles and to perform at such a young age was both great to see and an enjoyable piece of theatre.
The show had a bit for everyone with songs that varied from pop hits such as Your Song right through to traditional pantomime songs including The Washer Woman which had the whole audience standing up and dancing along.
One of the most memorable parts of the production was the opening dance sequence after the interval that reinforced the talents that these performers have.
The experimental dance sequence, performed by the older members of the cast, told the story of Alice and her journey through Wonderland without any use of dialogue or songs.
The younger audience members were not so keen on this part of the show but it felt like it was put in for the older generation and showed the variety of talents based at the YMCA.
The group dance sequences and songs really brought to life the fun and enjoyment that these children had whilst performing.
It was a production with limited budget and space yet they managed to use creative elements to show how Alice falls down the rabbit hole and when she shrinks after drinking some liquid, which really showed the talents of the writers and directors.
The production was choreographed by Holly McNeill and was produced by Steve Marsh and Graham Ibbotson, who has just celebrated 30 years at the YMCA, and was part of Y Musical Theatre.
The audience were engaged throughout the production like a typical pantomime would plus the cast saying ‘hello to the Steve’, meaning me was both embarrassing yet great to hear.
The cast should be proud of what they achieved; it showed the talents and dedication of the cast and crew involved.