Wednesday, August 10

Alice – The Empty Space

Alice is a new play written by Tara Anegada inspired by Lewis Caroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ directed by Zoe Smith which was performed in Salford’s Empty Space Theatre as a part of Greater Manchester’s Fringe season of 2022.

The script highlights the pressures females face to sexualise themselves to produce their personal art through how they physically look and act in order to conform in how society dictates to so many of our today’s youth.

Anegada Theatre company is based in the East Midlands who state that they strive to make art that is diverse and will spark conversation, through adaptations that reframe traditional literature. This production is a fabulous showcase of their ethos and drive as it certainly does spark a conversation and is exquisitely written by Anegada, from the opening scene of this 50-minute production you are captivated by the classic adaptation tale and familiar characters of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter’s tea party.

I have seen many Fringe productions and I have to say this is the strongest casting I have ever witnessed, the cast of four are phenomenally talented and polished who would fit in any professional staging as established actresses.

Lauren Rose McGee who plays Alice is mystically enchanting as the script takes you on her psychological struggle of fantasy and reality, Anegada’s characterisations of Alice is a psychologists dream from analysis and clearly highlights her need for escapism due to her internal struggles of conforming in society and the burning desire to find her own path in life and be the Alice she wants to personally identify as.

Shermya Modupe plays the rabbit the conformist and methodical ritualist character that depicts the importance to follow the routine path that has always been followed and that reaches the same destination each journey. Modupe’s stage presence was magnificent, surpassing any expectation of a Fringe delivery, I wholeheartedly invested in her character and would have personally followed her if I was Alice, highlighting the personal conformist in myself hence sparking my own internal conversation in my head where I sit in society.

Nicole Joseph delivered the role of the seductive alluring cat, beautifully spoken and visually appealing she bewitched the audience and Alice with her beauty and tempting words. Joseph played a dual role and equally achieved the role of the dominating Red Queen where she broadcasts the importance of obedience to all, showcasing her versatility whilst conveying this brilliant script.

Cherry Eckel plays the chaotic character of Hatter is the pinnacle role in convincing Alice to step outside her box and express herself as an individual and not a conformist, Eckel also played a dual role as Absolem the character that is amused by Alice’s change in character when she deviates from her expected route. Hatter is portrayed as neither feminine or masculine and is the one character that challenges each conformist throughout the script resulting in Alice being given the ability (key) to being who ever she wants to be.

I would highly recommend this play to anyone, and I can see this becoming a play on the main stage of theatre land in the future. Absolutely blown away by this outstanding script and strong cast of four and I congratulate Anegada Theatre for this first-class performance.

Must close 23rd July, https://manchester.ssboxoffice.com/events/alice/

Reviewer: Katie Leicester

Reviewed: 22nd July 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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