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Lichfield Garrick launches Alice in Wonderland Christmas show

The summer holidays have only just ended for most of us, but for the busy folk of theatre-land it’s already panto – sorry, Christmas show time again. The Lichfield Garrick’s no exception, so I went along to the launch of their latest production Alice in Wonderland to find out what’s in store for audiences this year.

I arrived as cast members were taking a photo call, and judging by the sumptuous standard of the colourful costumes on display I had a good feeling about Alice even before I’d heard anything about the show. I managed to get a word with Ian Adams, the show’s writer about the challenges involved in turning this much-loved classic into a seasonal entertainment billed as “another glittering adaptation of a timeless classic”.

Steve Huison, Laura Baldwin and Ian Adams

Steve Huison, Laura Baldwin and Ian Adams

Ian told me: “I’ve never done anything quite like this before, so it was a real challenge. Unlike A Christmas Carol there isn’t a story as such, but plenty of incident, so I decided to make it the opportunity for a lot of musical scenes in different styles. So there are songs, and lots and lots of dancing about!” (He’s especially proud of inventing a new tap routine.) “We’re giving the show a circus feel,” he says, “and it’s more than ever an ensemble piece, because the main actors all play three roles each.”

Ian will don a top hat and take to the stage as the Mad Hatter, but won’t be drawn on whether or not we’ll be seeing him in skirts this year. He laughed.

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

The show’s Alice is newcomer Laura Baldwin, in her first job after graduating from drama school. Fresh as a daisy, she looks every inch the perfect Alice, and her confidence shines through.

“It’s my first Christmas show,” she tells me, “as well as my first job. My agent sent me for the audition and I found out while I was on holiday. I’m really excited, and I’m looking forward to the hard work. I can’t wait.”

The show’s other main role is the White Rabbit, played here by actor Steve Huison, best known to millions as Corrie’s Eddie Windass and as Lomper in the smash hit film, The Full Monty.

“It feels good,” he told me from underneath a startling pair of giant furry ears. “I played a piece of cheese in modern play in Germany, so you could say I’ve had a very varied career.”

He’s especially looking forward to the show because of its music performed live on stage by the Lichfield Garrick’s Circus Band.

“There’s even talk of a ukulele,” smiles Steve. “Just my cup of tea.”

Alice in Wonderland runs at the Lichfield Garrick from December 6, 2012, until January 6, 2013, with a variety of schools, matinee and evening performances.

Tickets cost from £12.50 for children and from £20 for adults. To book, phone the Lichfield Garrick box office on 01543 412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com.

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