Alice adventures not successful the accepted wonderland but connected the London underground successful this reshuffle by Poltergeist theatre company acceptable on the Victoria line. It’s a smartly offbeat proposition for Lewis Carroll’s circular communicative arsenic this venue is adjacent Brixton presumption – some commencement and extremity of that enactment – and the conduit brings its ain satellite of codes and rules.
“See it, slay it, sorted” reads 1 motion connected Shankho Chaudhuri’s acceptable – referring to Carroll’s Jabberwocky – and pb writer Jack Bradfield has amusive punning astir the conduit map. Using the play’s ain nonsense language, here’s the plot: Alice is not precise Poplar, becomes a Walthamstowaway connected the underground and prays to the Seven Sisters she’ll marque it location earlier Knightsbridge.
This Victoria enactment has its ain Queen and the passengers moving precocious see a newspaper-reading Rabbit (Khai Shaw) with suit overgarment and fluffy tail. As Brixton schoolgirl Alice, Nkhanise Phiri is simply a maelstrom of 11-year-old emotions: huffy, funny, cheeky and, naturally, ever-curious. She’s speechmaking Carroll’s classical astatine schoolhouse and aft encountering footie fans Dee and Dum (Will Spence and Rosa Garland) she spells retired similarities with the different Alice’s wonderland.
While older audiences support way of these references and alterations, specified a extremist overhaul risks distancing younger fans of the caller and scenes including the beverage enactment get a level treatment. Children who hardly cognize the publication whitethorn beryllium baffled by an often tricksy publication wherever overmuch seems inconsequential without capable cognition of the root material. The play intrigues for however it adapts Carroll alternatively than arsenic a standalone adventure.
There’s a awesome nonaccomplishment successful the messaging arsenic Alice’s ngo to “break the loop” and halt her pals from being turned into commuters is not afloat elucidated for the youngest successful its recommended property scope (over-sevens). But the casual crankiness successful Carroll’s book, and Alice’s bafflement astatine her surroundings, transportation good to this schoolgirl’s mundane life, swerving bullies and navigating her parents’ separation. Magic is spun from the theatre’s doorstep excessively arsenic a tortoise inquires if Electric Avenue marketplace sells vegetables glowing similar lightbulbs.
Gerel Falconer’s dynamic rap lyrics complement the script, particularly successful a climactic conflict betwixt Alice and her mum (Toyin Ayedun-Alase). With a creepy lighting plan (Rajiv Pattani) matching an eerie soundscape (Alice Boyd), Bradfield’s accumulation harnesses the cacophony of conduit question to make a treacherous realm: “mind the gap” has seldom sounded truthful ominous.
At Brixton House, London, until 31 December