Lockdown review: Alice – a Virtual Theme Park

Last night, it was back to Wonderland to follow the adventures of Alice and her new friends “down the rabbit hole”.

Using a website, a selection of live Zoom calls, and an online game, this show is the most adventurous yet from Big Telly NI and Creation Theatre (I previously reviewed their The Tempest, plus The Machine Stops from Big Telly alone).

The premise is simple. You are sent a link to the website where you can chat with the Cheshire Cat ‘pre-show’. We traded riddles, jokes and it invited questions about the show. Although I thought my old laptop might struggle with the tech, it held up throughout, only taking slightly longer to join in the Zoom calls.

The Tweedles - Tom Richardson
The Tweedles – Tom Richardson

True to the Alice books (if you know Lewis Carroll’s texts, you will definitely love this, but it isn’t essential), the show is initially based on choices as to which room to visit. We got a recipe from the Cook, learned to swim with the March Hare, met the Mad Hatter and his theatre hat, and marvelled at the ingenuity of the Tweedle twins.

After a few trips around, everyone was brought together for the Queen of Hearts to hold court. Alice and friends made (non)sense of a whimsical trial, and everyone got a final chance to shine, cast and audience.

If there were any glitches on the night, they were not noticable, and it was fun to get out a few stuffed animal friends to join in the activities (and get a few video spotlights!). This show – running 70 minutes last night – is fun, family-friendly, and warm-hearted.

The Mad Hatter - Dharmesh Patel
The Mad Hatter – Dharmesh Patel

All the performers were comfortable with their Zoom surroundings, and the usual ingenuity from the theatre companies to create a world for their actors to play it were complemented by the odd clever illusion.

Vera Chok as the Queen, Colm Gormley as the March Hare, and Tom Richardson as Tweedledum/Tweedledee were especially memorable but all the cast did well. Sadly we only had a fleeting glimpse of the White Rabbit but we knew he was there in the end!

In Zoe Seaton’s adaptation (she also directed), it was good to hear the whole of Jabberwocky plus a mention of the Lobster Quadrille. Charlotte Keatley wrote the Mad Hatter’s theatre scene, and Ryan Dawson Laight conjured up sets and costumes that brought characters to life.

Alice - Leda Douglas
Alice – Leda Douglas

Alice is ultimately a show of charm and occasional barbed wit, which is fun for both families or adults. You don’t have to switch your video on and join in, but it is fun if you do, and the chance to design and race a hedgehog adds an element of competition. Our ‘Rex’ may have been a little sluggish, but he was certainly colourful.

You can book for Alice at https://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/book-shows/ – shows run until 30 August and tickets are £20. You need a laptop or desktop computer for the bulk of the show, plus a secondary device (we used a mobile phone) for the game.

LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to review Alice.

Production shots courtesy Fourth Wall PR.

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