The Other Room at Porter’s is currently home to a ridiculously funny, curiously clever and oddly insightful alternative Christmas ‘play’ at the moment- the quotations marks are necessary, I promise.
The audience are warmly welcomed through the brightly lit radio studio (Paul Towson) via a door made from a deck chair, a small path made from gravel and what could be squeaky dog toys, where we are met by the newly assembled actors for their first read through of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Their director Fabian (François Pandolfo) is very quickly driven slightly mad by the actors, with Nick (Richard Elfyn) as the prime culprit for madness as he throws his knowledge, experience and insistent ego at the others by constantly showing off his fantastic vocals and making shamefully funny snide remarks about their acting skills. There’s also the newly trained RADA graduate Toby (Arthur Hughes) who is also driven to madness which he chooses to expresses through a children’s audio book he’s written, while the delicate Elin-Rose (Louise Marie Lorey) becomes lost in Nick’s celebrity status and in her own world too at times (which is kind of understandable under the circumstances and may also be the safer place to be). We also meet Gael (Dean Rehman) an Adler actor who’s name is constantly mispronounced by the director, but who is somehow promoted in what becomes the Cold War version of the classic story; ‘Alix in Wundergarten’.
We are taken on a close and explicit journey of a first reading gone wrong, with singing, dancing, sexual advances and a storytelling Santa, where there is no line drawn between the actors world and ours. In this uniquely bold piece you question when the acting is acting and whether there is indeed anyone in the room who knows what on earth is going on at any point during the 90 minutes of witty weirdness. But what is definite about this performance is that you will feel for yourself how an environment and it’s contents can change you. How an imposing ego mixed with innocent ears and a straining need to be established in your own ideal can make you forget what it is you are ‘meant’ to be doing. I mean, you may not understand this piece, I understand that that’s not the point of it (if there is any definite point). But you will laugh, you will cringe and you will indulge in its oddly attractive madness. The wild and wonderful creation that is ‘Alix in Wundergarten’ written by François Pandolfo and directed by Angharad Lee, is a magnified mash up of the catastrophic collision between reality, time and logic, both in Wonderland and the rehearsal room. You’ll know what I mean when you see it..
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
Alix in Wundergarten runs at The Other Room at Porter’s until 19th December.
Who doesn’t love a little absurdity?