For those who don’t know, New Talent Nights is when Student Theatre at Glasgow (STaG), at the beginning of every year, put on multiple version of the same show, solely for freshers to star in. It is rehearsed and performed in just over a month, so often we are told not to expect the highest of art. However, the three different versions of Alice in Wonderland performed this year managed to make do and give us three very different and highly enjoyable evenings.
The first night set a good precedent. Based on the idea that, instead of falling down a rabbit hole, Alice wanders inside a time machine and is transported from 1860 to the 1920’s, 60’s, 70’s, 90’s and 2004, putting a twist on each of the characters of this beloved classic (for example, the mad hatter is a speakeasy owner and the Duchess of Hearts a Disco Diva). If we forgive its various anachronisms (remembering that they’re working on a budget), what follows is a fun romp through time to visit some of our worlds more notable time periods and less than advisable fashion choices.
The second night departed very quickly from the first. Set in Wonderland, an exclusive night club, Alice follows her new friend (who dresses only in white) through the various rooms of the club, all the while trying to avoid the Queen (whose boyfriend she may have drunkenly slept with). As different to the first night as chalk to cheese, it is a very adult show featuring many questionable references and more than a few double-entendres, all of which made for a hilarious ride.
The final night again took a different path, going for a Play That Goes Wrong vibe. A missing Queen of Hearts, a drunk narrator and constant confusion about what play it is are only a few of the side-splitting mistakes the cast display to the audience. Featuring a good blend of jokes from and about the story, it also never shied away from reminding the audience that it was a play, hilarity ensuing. An excellent end to an excellent run of performances.
There you have it, and I leave you all with this thought; before each play I interviewed the directors about what it was like to work on the project and they all said the same thing; That working with their respective casts was as rewarding an experience as they have ever done and they loved every minute of it. And when asked if they recommended that students get involved in STaG in the future, the answer was a resounding YES!
By Michael Cartledge