‘Leave Room for Dreams’ opens this magical musical as Dodgson sets the scene with a short monologue and Young Alice begs him to tell her a story. Positioned on a step ladder, Dodgson takes photographs of Alice Liddell as he takes her on this surreal and colourful journey...
‘Share a Dream’ follows and as this draws to a close Young Alice becomes increasingly bored. Out of the blue a White Rabbit hops past as ‘It’s Late’ is sung. The stage is filled with animals and a spotlight shines on Alice as she walks down the step ladder and lies on the ground.
As the lights come up, Alice comes across a door, fifteen inches high, a bottle and a key. As she drinks the liquid, the door is replaced by one of a normal size by a member of the cast. As she walks through it (with the child turning the door as Alice approaches) Dodgson sings ‘Who are you Miss?’
As the story continues, Alice comes across a caterpillar who although is quite uncooperative at the beginning, helps her to become taller after singing ‘Music is my Life’, allowing the young girl to feel at ease in this new world she has entered. ‘Which Side Now’ provides a background melody during which Alice has the option of nibbling the left, or the right hand side of a mushroom; one side will make her taller, and the other shorter!
As the scene returns to Alice and Dodgson, the photographer entertains her by singing ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’-a witty and humorous song. As Alice grows sleepy, Dodgson entertains her by tying a knot in his handkerchief and creating the image of a rabbit using tricks of the light. ‘It’s Late, Thought Alice’ follows as she continues her adventure in this surreal land. As Alice approaches the Duchess’ kitchen, ‘We’re Mad Down Here’ is an appropriate song as the kitchen is filled with action; a grinning Cheshire cat who wags his tail when mad and growls when he’s pleased! Unfortunately, Alice is not welcomed and during ‘Speak Roughly’ the Duchess leaves Alice alone with the cat. ‘Mad Cat’ is sung as the feline explains his mad habits and tries to convince Alice she is mad as well. During this scene, the lights are used to achieve the famous ‘cheshire grin’ without a body.
Before Alice has a chance to ask the cat anymore about his marvellous tricks, the hatter, March hare and the Dormouse enter and settle down to a tea party. Uninvited, Alice attempts to converse with the creatures as she listens to numerous riddles that although entertain the audience, infuriates Alice! ‘Tea for Three’ is sung with great enthusiasm as the characters dance an eccentric Latin tea dance. Upon request, Alice is asked to tell the ‘three for tea’ a story, but unable to think of one, the Dormouse assists. As you might imagine in this surreal and magical place, his story makes little sense and ‘Muchness, Muchness’ is sung as the three animals explain that not everything has to make sense. Before Alice has a chance to even attempt to make sense of anything ‘Royal Invitation’ is sung as the Duchess invites everyone for a game of croquet with the Queen.
‘Painting the Roses’ follows as a pair of playing cards prepare for an eventful game of croquet, desperately trying to paint a white rose tree red. As the cards begin to panic upon the arrival of the Queen, she makes a grand entrance during ‘Here Comes the Queen.’ It is not long before the Queen attempts to chop off the young girl’s head as she fails to answer a question correctly, but with a close shave she manages to escape execution. As everyone prepares for a game of croquet, ‘All in a Line’ is sung. Unsurprisingly, the queen comes out on top and the play returns to Dodgson and Young Alice as the photographer continues with his story...
As Dodgson continues, telling Young Alice about a mock turtle, the action resumes as the mock turtle enters and sings ‘Beautiful Soup.’ During the interaction between Young Alice and the mock turtle, numerous jokes are exchanged as the turtle reminisces about his childhood. For instance reading and writing is replaced with ‘Reeling and Writhing’ which is presented as a rap. As the fun continues, the mock turtle demonstrates a dance called the ‘Lobster Quadrille’ and this involves the chorus as everyone joins in together. A reprise of ‘Beautiful Soup’ follows afterwards which provides a light hearted atmosphere before the trial begins.
‘Silence in Court’ is a short verse sung before the trial moves swiftly into action. Upon being called to the witness box, the formality of the court vanishes as everyone points at Alice before ‘Consider Your Verdict’ is spoken in metre over the music. As the trial becomes intense, with the jurors accusing Alice of being guilty she eventually loses her temper, shouting that she cares nothing for the jury.
In a sudden change of atmosphere, as the characters stand motionless, Alice sings ‘Where do I go from here now’ and the lights eventually fade, leaving only the camera, ladder and a projection of Dodgson, as at the start of the magical adventure.
Click the "Script & Songs" heading to read the script, look at the score and listen to the songs.