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KATS - Alice in Wonderland

15th to 17th February 2018

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Alice in pantoland

KATS 'act their socks off' bringing Wonderland to Thatcham

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: Alice in Wonderland – the pantomime, at Kennet School Thatcham, from Thursday, February 15, to Saturday, February 17

In a late, but welcome addition to the panto season, KATS brought a lively and most entertaining production of Alice in Wonderland to Kennet School. As we entered the hall we saw a beautiful grassy knoll with the rabbit hole, surrounded by a full-size tree and realistic vegetation – a lovely touch.

The principals acted their socks off and chorus realised Gemma Williams' choreography with enthusiasm and style – though we could have done with a few more smiles from some of the cast. But with the company displaying the usual high quality stagecraft, an energetic cast, loads of audience participation and lively music, we had a great time.

In the role of Alice, Gemma Williams delighted on all fronts, creating a lovely character and holding the action together. Allan Unnuk, as the Dame, Mabel, was oh-so likeable, delivering a fine performance. Jack Diamond (Joe Rollinson) engaged well with the audience and was endearing – but the character seemed a little underplayed – while Janet Kilgallon-Brook and Mandy Cole as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee gave us a superb high-octane comedy duo – brilliant. Kayleigh Dibble was charming as the White Rabbit, and Anisa Khorassani as the Essex Cat brought excellent acting and style to her role.

The role of The Queen of Hearts might have been written for Siouxsie Millard – and one in which she truly excelled.

She was perfectly paired with Mike Cole as the King of Hearts, with his slick comedy timing and delivery. Dave Marsh was also a triumph as The Mad Hatter with his weird and wacky portrayal, ably backed up by his side-kick Fiona Salisbury's March Hare.

Co-directors Chrissie Watson-Taylor and Gemma Williams brought to us a nicely-balanced, well-paced and slick show, which incorporated many elements of the classic story. I loved the 'Garage' scene with the videos of the lone tyre touring the sights of Thatcham… very random, very funny.

Carl Dibble's exemplary lighting enhanced the action and effects were well-devised and cued but – a small criticism – I felt the drops were drab. Costumes, on the other hand, were colourful and impressive.

Well done KATS.