Review: Alice

Eve Rivers 30 January 2016

“We’re all Mad Here,” Alice is told, and for the duration of the latest ADC late show at least, it seems like she might be right. If you want a piece of drama, or a coherent narrative, Alice is possibly not the best place to look, but as a spectacle it is magnificent. The world of wonderland is suddenly filled with acrobats, dancers and jugglers. There are bunnies that do backflips and caterpillars that break dance – Alice (Vinciane Jones) herself twirls gracefully from scene to scene. Occasionally these elements combine and create memorable combinations, like a tea party featuring an impromptu pole dance, or a croquet match where the ball is a gymnast.

Throughout the show, there are many impressive physical feats, including some that will have you biting your nails. The gymnastics extends to routines suspended in midair using rings and trapezes, carefully controlled and beautiful pieces of visual art. Particularly impressive is a two person gymnastics display that seems to defy gravity. Expect the audience to frequently break into spontaneous applause, the enthusiastic clapping in part relief that nobody has fallen face first to the floor.It is true that there are a few wobbles and hiccups, but this can be forgiven.

A word of caution on the narrative structure – there isn’t really one. If you aren’t familiar with the Alice in Wonderland story, it may be a little confusing. It may even be confusing if you are: the first quarter of an hour in particular is very dance and gymnastic heavy and when dialogue finally is inserted it seems a little stilted and out of place. The dramatic performances do get much stronger as the show goes on, culminating in some truly fantastic displays from Kyle Fearn as the Mad Hatter and Connie Karup as the Queen of Hearts. Both these actors hold their own when dealing with such iconic and charismatic characters, firmly engaging the audience and prompting peals of laughter. All in all, Alice is an eclectic mix of just about everything, but it’s certainly never boring. It can jar, it can fuse together, it can seem oddly out of place – but after all this is Wonderland.