Writer: Toby Clarke
Director: Ailin Conant
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Alice is based on Lewis Carroll’s 1865 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll strove to entertain as well as educate, known for his word play, logic and fantasy, so fine ingredients for a production.
Outside, the parameters are set by the ‘Dean’ (Adam Trussell) of the college, stressing how one must be alert at all times and follow where bidden. The first location is Alice’s (Katie Cherry) bedroom, where we are introduced to the ‘Cat’, an effective hand puppet worked by two feline characters (Francesca Heraghty-Smith and Ruth Rundle), who are then the main instruments in moving the audience around the building.
Fourth Monkey, founded by its director Steve Green, do not simply relate a tale, they create an environment relative to the story, presenting its essence and soul. In Alice there is this almost constant quest, chase, panic disquiet and an incessant search. This atmosphere of frustration is created not only physically, it being a promenade performance over several floors in a Victorian building, but by the way the characters are portrayed.
It is impossible to name all the 24 strong cast, but each played their part well, constantly in character and focused. Movement (Angela Gasparetto) was especially effective in characterisation. The costumes are simple, only ears and a pom-pom tail to denote Rabbit (Scott McGarrick), and Victorian in feel. It plays to a mainly youthful audience with occasional ‘risqué moments.
Alice is a melange of a cocktail of the surreal, magical, mystical tour, fantastical frenzy and a story thrown in for good measure. Given the physical energy required by the audience, especially at the time of the performance, a ‘health warning’ may be in order. “Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t” and so is Alice.
Runs until 23rd Aug