If the idea of an actor dressed in a tailcoat covered in Jammy
Dodgers intrigues you, then you should go and see Alice. A
must-see for connoiseurs of the weird and the wonderful, this
outdoor performance based on the books by Lewis Carroll is a
faultless piece of theatrical whimsy. The premise is that Alice makes her way across a giant
chessboard meeting various characters in her quest to become
Queen. Although not entirely faithful to the books, the script is
familiar, incorporating well-known characters and events such as
the Mad Hatter and his tea party. Yet it remains fresh enough to
keep even the most devoted Alice disciple guessing throughout. It
should be said that this is no kiddies’ production. They are
welcome, but there is no Disneyesque slice of saccharine. The Mad
Hatter (Iain Drennan) is a perfect mix of menace and black
humour, while Pia Fitzgerald shows her versatility as both the
imposing Red Queen and the frivolous Live Rose. The acting is
uniformly excellent, finding the difficult balance between
childlike innocence and dark comedy (particularly in the case of
Amy Jackson as Alice). The set, in an atmospheric walled garden of Queens College, is
transformed into a fantastic fairyland of sparkling glass
raindrops, twinkling lights and looming plantlife. Clever use of
perspective makes the scene appear much bigger than it actually
is, and reinforces the fantasy element of the play by delineating
the space between the actors and the audience. In short, this
brilliant and original play makes it strongly advisable to take a
trip into Wonderland (and hopefully it won’t rain).ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004 


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