Alice review at Landor Space, London – ‘a stylish reimagining’
Following an extensive refit of the Landor pub’s upper floor, the Landor Space in North Clapham has been created as a multi-purpose conference and performance venue. It remains a black box space and the venue’s new artistic director Or Benezra-Segal opens with a devised piece from Three Trees Theatre inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
Alice relocates the Mad Hatter’s tea party to a contemporary, bohemian dinner party being held to celebrate Lewis’ birthday.
The wine has been flowing and the company are now playing party games fuelled by coke when the neighbour’s teenage daughter Alice drops in to offer a birthday gift.
As she reluctantly joins the group, we witness snatches of Alice’s inappropriate relationship with Lewis in flashback, together with some vaguely hallucinogenic episodes. The latter sees those present at the party morph into reimagined versions of Carroll’s well-known characters like the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar.
Though several issues are being explored, including sexual abuse, they lack development. The party banter is banal, bourgeois nonsense although the constant bickering is realistic and each of the characters is well defined. The whole thing is stylishly presented by Benezra-Segal, on a slow revolve that constantly alters the audience’s perspective. Maja Laskowska’s Alice looks and sounds like a child desperate to be a grown-up and there’s something vaguely unsettling about Malcolm Jeffries’ Lewis, who seems determined to lend a hand in this regard.
As a debut work, Alice may be a little slight but it’s stylish and bodes well for a new company determined to shake up theatrical convention.