Alice

Fourth Monkey Theatre Company

theSpace on North Bridge

From 06 August 2014 to 25 August 2014

Rating: ****

Review by Liam Blain

Everyone knows the story of Alice, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat, but Fourth Monkey has cleverly taken Lewis Carroll’s famous tale to the dark place from which the book may have been first conceived.

It is believed that Carroll himself may have been a predatory figure who preyed on and abused young girls. Fourth Monkey’s adaption, simply entitled Alice, plays on this idea.

Set in Christ Church College Oxford, the protagonist Alice Liddell (Katie Cherry) is the Dean’s young daughter. The White Rabbit (Scott McGarrick) of this production portrays Carroll as a student of the college as he and Liddell begin their prohibited relationship. They play games together and set out to create the perfect wonderland in which their relationship could survive.

Having taken over theSpace on North Bridge, the cast and crew have transformed the two theatres, the reception area and two larger function rooms into both the college and this hyper-reality. Throughout the hour and a half long venture, you are ushered from room to room by the cast as the piece utilises four different floors.

It’s certainly a fun and exciting concept for a production but it has its downsides. At midnight, you really need your Red Bull to find the energy to keep going and to keep up with the story, as, although it’s not too confusing, come 1AM I certainly felt like I was flagging. Also, the less able-bodied Fringe-goers may have found this production quite the expedition, constantly moving up and down the steep Carlton stairs.

Katie Cherry must be complimented for her excellent portrayal of Alice. She really keeps the story alive and brings the energy required at the half-time lag that some of the audience experience due to the manner of the performance.

Director, Ailin Conant´╗┐’s ambition must also be given credit. You can tell within seconds that this was certainly a big project but the time and effort has certainly paid off. Every scene is extremely well rehearsed and the ensemble work beautifully together.

Alice may make you question your favourite childhood characters, but it is certainly worth staying up for.