A fantastical farewell to Alice

Hastily moving in the darkened aisles of Siri Fort auditorium, we looked out for the right seats to experience what was being described as ‘India’s first English musical theatre’---7 Days to Wonderland. 

Shuffling sounds of feet in a packed house, increase one’s curiosity, don’t they? And if it’s a house packed with children, adjudging every move honestly, expressing ‘awws’, ‘wows’ and applause at everything that excites them, the journey gets even more rollicking.   

As the set unveiled, its breathtaking expanse beguiled us into settling in for a two-hour long broadway-like performance.  By its first appearance, it seemed plucked out straight from the Bollywood charmer Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai, but not entirely. Interplaying snippets from children’s classics- J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and the enchanting story of Cinderella--- the theatrical safari took us to fantastical lands, introducing us to the evil forces called ‘Others’ and the famous characters Captain Hook, Tinker Bell and Peter Pan. 

Intermittently, the characters broke into singing and dancing, adding zing and colour to the life of Alice. Oh, yes! It even had Alice, as its protagonist, eventually leaving for Wonderland, because she was in the last stage of leukemia. This rip-roaring odyssey of Alice, a young girl whose father discovers about her life-threatening ailment at the last hour, takes us through a fun-filled seven-day voyage of imaginary lands and in the process weaving together charming adventures right out of children books, to give a memorable farewell to Alice. What better treat for children on a weekend! It was just right up their alley! 

For swiftly changing 22 sets, 36 costumes alongside 12 original pieces of music and live singing by young actors on stage without a hitch, the performance does deserve a reverberating applause. Our only complaint--- it could have been short and breezy; 120 minutes with a 10-minute long interval makes it a tad difficult to sustain one’s interest.

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