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Pictures: Another strong show by Watermill theatre's youth ensemble





The Watermill Youth Ensemble: Through The Looking Glass at The Watermill, Bagnor from Thursday, March 23 to Saturday, March 25. Review by ROBIN STRAPP

The Watermill Youth Ensemble’s Through The Looking Glass, skilfully adapted by writer in residence Becca Chadder, explores the strange, magical world of Lewis Carroll and sparkles with invention and energy.

The 31-strong company and a team of six backstage embrace this classic tale with impressive physicality and strong ensemble playing.

Designer Constance Villemot’s reflective burnished mirrored set, with a distorted black-and-white chess board filling the stage floor creates the weird landscape where everything is reversed, including logic.

Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull

When headstrong Alice (Colette) disappears through an ornate mirror, her siblings go on a madcap adventure to try and find her.

Immi gives a commanding performance as her determined sister Mary Ann, who discovers she needs to reach the end of the chess board if she is to rescue her sister.

But it’s a hazardous journey where she meets the Mad Hatter, the charismatic Ruairi who owns the stage and asks: “Why is a racoon like a writing desk?” We never do find out the answer...

Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull

The rivalry between the Red Queen (Bea) and White Queen (Seren) is dramatically played out in the chess game.

Eloise is menacing as the dark crow, who frightens the twin brothers, while Tweedledum (Isobel) and Tweedledee(Amy) bring some zany comedy business whenever they appear.

Charlie obviously relishes her performance as the petulant Queen of Hearts, who at the slightest provocation insists that the miscreant is killed with a triumphant “off with their heads”.

Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull
Through the Looking Glass, picture Philip Tull

With Tom playing the Gnat, Coco as the Hare and Alexander as Bill, together with excellent support from the Daisies, Humpty Dumpty and the playing cards, as well as the Red and White Kings together with the many other cast members, this talented company shines.

Matty Green’s inspired direction brings this enduring story to the stage in a vibrant highly enjoyable, fun production.

All the performances are ‘relaxed’ with the house lights only dimmed and BSL signed by Amy Astley who is fully integrated into the production as part of The Watermill’s mission to be welcoming to all.

Bravo!



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