Refresh Theatre
Unity Theatre
30th-31st October 2009

Reviewed by Mari Jones

Everyone is familiar with the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and its iconic scenes and images. Alice, a play created by Alice Robinson of Liverpool-based Refresh Theatre, takes this familiar tale and spins it on its head into something even more sinister and bizarre.

The Alice of this new tale (performed by Alice Robinson herself) is a girl living in modern times, trying to cope with life after a terrifying incident that has left her unable to sleep or live normally. She has trouble telling the difference between reality and dreams – is she imagining all these images from the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, or are they really happening?

Alice Robinson’s performance is brilliant in this one woman play – she adds real humour to the role, especially when she interacts with the audience and asks us questions directly. She is also able to inject the role with pathos as she recounts, matter-of-factly, her horrifying ordeal to us – making us see why she can’t move on.

The idea to use video footage projected on a screen behind her is also a clever device which allows the plot to be fully understood as her video image tells her what to do and when to enter and exit the stage.

The one flaw with this production would be that its story is slight, which can be expected from a play that runs for only one hour and has just one performer. However it is still a beautiful and intriguing play that mixes dance, music and video to create a heartfelt story about dreams and fear that has an ending which will make you feel truly uplifted. Make sure you follow Alice down the rabbit hole and join her in a cup of tea.

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