Wonder in Aliceland – Hen & Chickens, London

Reviewer: Graham Williams

Director: James Wren

Writer: Alice Henley

In an hour-long play, can a writer get in everything they wish to touch upon post #MeToo?

Alice Henley certainly attempts much during this performance. A simple set with homely sofas that smoothly changes for other scenes starts the play in what feels a cosy house share. Here, two obviously close female flatmates are living and discussing issues that are facing them day-to-day and in their searches for love and sex.

They seamlessly discuss the banalities of life and dating through to boundaries of consensual sex and rape with the ease of friends who are close. Their lives and views from a women’s’ perspective post #MeToo are touchingly and coherently told. Within the journeys of these two women are the realities of dating; how dating changes with age; the real conundrums facing women dating online; the dangers and realities of going on dates; pregnancy and miscarriage but all discussed with humour and warmth.

As well as writing, Alice Henley performs alongside Zahra Browne, and these two seem natural in their friendship and care for one another, and they care for their characters too in performances in which they so obviously feel invested . This is never more evident than in Alice’s devastating and moving monologue on the real and ever constant dangers and trauma in which her character lives.

This is a must-see if you want to witness how it is possible to cleverly raise and discuss with care and empathy many serious issues in such a short space of time and that they can be clearly and tenderly reflected upon, as long as something is written and performed well. To know that the play is partly inspired by true events makes it all the more moving.

Small productions and theatre spaces have suffered greatly through lockdowns and continue to do so as they are priced out with larger productions offering cheap seats to lure back audiences. So to see such a good production at just £10 per head, less than a cinema seat, feels really hopeful. This is small local London theatre at its best.

Runs until 29 January 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

A hard tale told with warmth

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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