Trish Lindstrom as Alice (centre) makes an impressive debut at the 2014 Stratford Festival in a play that makes a family retreat to the theatre feel good again. ‘Alice Through The Looking-Glass’ plays the Avon Theatre until Oct. 12


Everyone remembers being stuck in the house as a child, either on a rainy day or for something your parents deemed a crime. And while many children find refuge in staring at the droplets of water falling against the window pane or an old book, Alice (Trish Lindstrom) finds hers in staring into a mirror and wondering what the world might be like on the other side.

When fate pushes Alice Through The Looking-Glass, it deposits her in a strange new world, where near is far and fast is slow, and where the rules of the chessboard matter more than the laws of physics.

Alice moves from square to square on the chessboard, encountering an ever increasing number of strange creatures who inhabit the world behind the looking glass. A dizzying array of characters cross her path, from an egotistical egg man, a pair of decidedly different queens, and a bumbling knight- many who ask her to sit back and hear a tale before she goes further on her way.

It is in these stories within the story where much of the fun takes place, with actors and puppets bringing to life the worlds of the Jabberwocky, the Lion and the Unicorn, Humpy Dumpty, and more. They fill the simple set with colours and shapes that change the landscape.

This is the production’s double-edged sword; Alice becomes a bystander to the happenings around her and her journey to become a queen feels like an afterthought on a long trip.

There is real magic in the show that comes when the actors break off the stage and bring the world beyond the looking glass into the audience, bringing along with them a few visual delights and treats for all.

Trish Lindstrom brings a wonderful performance to the show. There’s a bold, clumsiness to her movements that transforms her into the child Alice. Other stand outs are Cynthia Dale’s Red Queen, who strides across the stage with purpose. Brian Tree plays Humpty Dumpty perfectly, making us root for him to plummet to his doom, and Rylan Wilkie’s White Knight takes our sympathies with him as he flops and falls across the stage.

While the story meanders, there’s a lot of fun to be had on the other side of the mirror.

Review by Dean Vilese

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS Adaption by James Reaney Apr. 30 – Oct 12. 12, 2014 AVON THEATRE, Stratford TICKETS $45.00 – $135.00 1-800-561-1600 CAST Trish Lindstrom, Cynthia Dale, Dion Johnstone, Tom McCamus, Brian Tree, Sarah Afful, Kevin Bundy, Ijeoma Emesowum, Ruby Joy, John Kirkpatrick, Claire Lautier, Elliott Loran, Mike Nadajewski, Sarah Orenstein, Sarena Parmar, Gareth Potter, Tyrone Savage, Sanjay Talwar DIRECTOR Jillian Keiley SET & COSTUMES Bretta Gerecke LIGHTING Kimberly Purtell COMPOSER Jonathan Monro SOUND DESIGN John Gzowski

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