Thursday, February 29

A Virtual Alice in Wonderland – Creation Theatre

Creation Theatre have been going strong for 22 years, performing out of the ordinary theatre events, at venues such as castles, gardens, bookshops, factories and tents. They like to interpret well-loved classics and breathe new life into them. The latest offering is Alice in Wonderland, quirkily entitled, as Alice, A Virtual Theme Park. 

Taking place on zoom, (described as a multi-platform, multi-choice experience) you are required to attend a series of slapstick, zany meetings – It’s great to see the audience participation, no room for bashfulness. Of course, they’re not real meetings but a series of crazy, riotous performances by the cast. 

You’re thrust into a magical imaginary world, where you might be required to dance to Abba, run on the spot and swim to name a few things that are perfect for captivating children’s imaginations. This is in between the introduction to each character and scene. 

The actors take on the quirky roles very convincingly. Leda Douglas is an enigmatic Alice.  It stays close to the original story, with an awesome rendition of Jabberwocky at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  Mad Hatter Dharmish Patel and March Hare Colm Gormley are utterley compelling in their roles. 

Tom Richardson plays Tweedledee and Tweedledum, I’m not sure if that scouse accent was real but it was very convincing. He had to perform acrobatics with himself too, showing his improvisation skills. 

They don’t stray far from the original, the rendition of Jabberwocky at the Mad Hatter’s tea party didn’t fail to impress. It’s full of surprises, twists and turns.

It’s brilliant fun for families with young children. The actors were experts at getting audience to join in, which was very funny and you do get to know each other more than you would at a traditional theatre. It’s great to see strangers in their living rooms, pretending to be a tree.

Splendid fun was to see the audience participation, and definitely no room for bashfulness.  You might be asked to run on the spot (caucus race) and swim to name a few things that are perfect for captivating children’s imaginations. However, if you don’t wish to, you can remain on mute, but that defeats the whole objective, surely. 

There was a high attention to detail, to make the whole performance as strange as possible, such as chatting to a virtual Cheshire cat in the holding room, who was full of witty anecdotes and riddles. Corker lines like, ‘mad as a box of pogs,’and ‘the sign of madness reeks within you.’ are priceless. Costumes, make-up and virtual sets were a treat for the eyes. There’s also a trip to Hell’s Kitchen, which isn’t for the faint-hearted. 

There’s so much to absorb the watcher with for just over an hour. You don’t want to leave the rabbit hole at the end and definitely want to go back for more adventures. 

A unique take on the much loved classic. Oxford based, Creation Theatre offers a multi-sensory experience for all the family. It’s innovative. It’s not seamlessly perfect but it’s really, really clever and it doesn’t need to be too polished. 

Reviewer: Rachel Foster

Reviewed: 9th August 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★