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Waiting For Alice
Published on Thursday, 25 August 2011

2 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 12:30pm-1:15pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Parental Guidance. Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.

As the Mad Hatter, March Hare and the Dormouse hold yet another tea party, the Turtle bemoans the characters’ fate – and the White Rabbit is sent by the author to find Alice to complete their story.

The script by Holly Race Roughan and Alex Woolf creates an unfinished Wonderland, still being written by its author. As the book nears completion, the characters start to lose control of the world around them, as they contemplate who, or what, “the Alice” is. The concept doesn’t provide too much dramatic potential and though there is the beginning of an exploration into the nature of the author/character relationship, there isn’t a great deal of substance to it.

More successful are the lighter moments of wordplay, though it doesn’t approach the charm and absurdity of the original. Perhaps intentionally lacking in depth, due to their unfinished nature, the characters are ably played by the cast. Unfortunately, not being well-rounded, they’re hard to really invest in.

Upon entering, the audience are welcomed to the tea party and provided with biscuits and a cup of “drinkable ink”. The design is simple and effective, the stage being covered in tea sets and cakes. The costumes are rough and ready creations, with many inventive touches used to great effect.

Waiting for Alice seeks to delve into the darker side of the life of a character, trapped inside their author’s creation. Aiming a little too high, the intentions of the piece remain unclear. There are some enjoyable moments, but the show never really measures up to its source material.

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