Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was always an obscure story and in Alice Unhinged the Young Pleasance Company take the obscure and plank it firmly in the modern day complete with mobile phones, nightclubs and a sad indictment of modern times: drink spiking.
It is this fate which befalls young Alice (Phoebe Stapleton) and sends her metaphorically back down the rabbit hole where she experiences a strange sense of déjà vu as she encounters many of the same characters we all know and love from the Carroll classic.
The energy abounds throughout, starting with the opening club scene and never waning, and the costumes are designed exquisitely to build the imaginary world and create characters of the entire cast who dance their way round the cleverly moveable clock centrepiece.
The Young Pleasance are based in London but audition every year for a company of 16-21 year olds to perform a production at the Fringe and there is no shortage of young talent on stage. From Hamish Lloyd Barnes as the suitably creepy yet charming Cheshire Cat to Phoebe Campbell as the successfully omnipresent Red Queen screeching at her subjects for regular beheadings.
Alice must bring herself back to consciousness by working out the strange message hidden amongst the odd characters and the riddles they speak which eventually takes her to be tried in court and, having been found guilty, placed in the oubliette with her other unfortunate compatriots. But here she finds the answers she has been looking for and the key to escape this odd world.
It is a unique and exciting journey not just for Alice but for the audience too and it is safe to assume that we have seen some real future stars this afternoon who may well become household names in years to come.