Immersion Theatre Company bring their new family musical Alice In Wonderland to Bognor’s Regis Centre on Monday, April 10.
Company co-founder James Tobias, who has also written the show, is quick to stress: this is a company with real theatrical integrity.
“It is not just pop on bright costumes and make silly faces. This is real, high-quality theatre.
“Rochelle Parry and I set the company up seven years ago, and initially we just worked on the fringe circuit in London, but three years ago, we started touring the country. And the more we do, the more we find our passion for family theatre and pantomime comes through.
“We now tour a range of venues from 200-seaters up to 800, plus this year we are producing our first large-scale tour, with Our House. That is going to be from August to November. But we will always be very passionate about the mid-scale venues that we do. It’s about offering a quality theatrical experience.
“We have worked extraordinarily tirelessly over the last three years, sacrificing pretty much everything to create this company and establish it and really start to gain momentum. We have had wonderful reviews and wonderful feedback from the theatres, and so new venues for us get to hear of us, and so it grows. They ask us to come to them, and it is great.
“We have also really developed our own style. There are so many things to it, but one of the most important is to have a really solid story in the first instance, and that’s something we stick to. It is important not just for the children but for the whole family experience as well for everyone to share in. I write all the scripts, and they all have original music. And we have a lot of audience interaction. After the show, the children can meet all the characters and have their photos taken with them. We are trying to create a real experience, not just a show that you go to. It’s all about getting the audience going, getting all of them on side.”
Following their 2016 open-air sell out tour of The Wizard of Oz and their 2016-17 critically-acclaimed pantomime of Robin Hood, Immersion Theatre Company is now touring with their own version of the family classic, Alice in Wonderland.
“It’s a completely-original script and score. It’s a larger-than-life show with lots of audience interaction, and it will be stunning. We have tried to create a story logically running through it so that the children can follow. We have tried to retain all the characters, but it is important for the story to be running through.
“We just love the classics, and it goes back to that, to be able to offer something for absolutely everybody. Most adults will have grown up with the story, and the children will be discovering it now.”
As for what it’s all about, James confesses: “I wish I knew! I have no idea! But really it is the fact that this man’s imagination can soar in such a way, and that’s a wonderful theme with Alice in Wonderful. You can think about what it all means, but really you can just enjoy the story.
“We have put our own spin on it. We take the Caterpillar, and he is very Dean Martin with a big band. The Cheshire Cat has got a bluesy rock ‘n’ roll sound. There are lots of different genres.
“I think a lot of the hesitation towards Alice in Wonderland is that it makes no sense, but we have tried to add some logic while still keeping the great sense of wonder and all the crazy bonkersness of the original.”
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