Not since the stage production of The 39 Steps have I come across so many characters played by so few actors (just two, in this case), to great comic effect. The setup is that this story is constructed on-the-spot by the father of five-year-old Jeremy. Jeremy’s mother is out late (quite why is never explained, which means infidelity is on the cards, but that’s another story for another time) so a precedent is being set on this particular evening. Dad is telling a bedtime story instead of Mum. This probably explains why the said bedtime story contains swearing and rattles on for an hour.
Thus, The Mercurious Misadventures of Hatter and Hare is not, despite its central characters being derived from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, a family show. That does not stop it from being absurd and ridiculous – on the contrary, it encourages the implausible. It’s young Jeremy who swiftly points out holes in the plotline: it’s his father who has pointed out that The Mad Hatter (Maximilian Hooper) and The March Hare (Elliot Thomas) don’t have passports. So, Jeremy wants to know, how did they get from one country to another? This production is clever enough to know its own deficiencies.
The show would have had a traditionally hearty ending, but for a common abbreviation that cannot be deciphered by neither Hatter nor Hare, with eventual disastrous consequences. There are plenty of twists and turns to sustain attention amongst the silliness. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: a show where I don’t find myself anywhere near nodding off at any point has got to have some qualities to it.
There is, however, no getting away from quite how ludicrous the story itself is, though the concept of a parent making it all up on the spot lends it some credibility. I have to say I rather enjoyed the down-to-earth, if rather sudden, ending to the piece, but it most certainly won’t be to everyone’s liking.
The plot is tackled with tremendous force and energy, and rightly so – there’s so much that goes on in this comedy play that it could have lasted twice as long under more sedentary direction. No matter: I like it as it is, rapid and dynamic. It’s all incredibly convincing, until you’re on the Tube home and have the benefit of hindsight, but still find yourself chuckling at the preposterousness of the plot. The best laughs come as a result of Hatter and Hare’s naivety (or is it ignorance?) of the real world (as opposed to Wonderland), and the many misinterpretations of phrases and sayings that have implied as well as, ahem, explicit meanings.
This is a delightful little show with a comedy duo who deliver an amusing, if borderline illogical, play with some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. A very suitable play for a pub basement venue, with the activity on stage as raucous as the banter upstairs. Recommended.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Aelfa Centauri Theatre Company
The Mercurious Misadventures of Hatter & Hare!
“Typical, why do bad things always happen to mad people?”
Ever wondered what happened to the tea-guzzling twosome from Alice in Wonderland? A tragic turn of events forces the Hatter and Hare to embark on a globe-spanning pilgrimage of enlightenment, intrigue and precariously balanced crockery. Grab yourself a pint on your way back down the rabbit hole in this dark new comedy spin-off from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale!
To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, Aelfa Centauri Theatre Company have created an original, hilarious and R Rated theatrical event, in which your favourite mentally mixed-up pair must uphold a departed friends’ ludicrous legacy, leaving Wonderland for the dangers of the real world.
Precarious encounters with volatile, preposterous characters, ghosts and Ghouls, and even crackpots. All the while trying to solve their friends riddles leading them on a path of historic discovery, from the swanky tea parties of the 17th Century English elite, back in time to tea’s ancient Chinese origins in 2737 Hilarious comedy duo Maximillian Hooper and Elliot Thomas at The Camden Fringe 2015, ignited the stage and left the audience rolling with contagious laughter in their seats with their most outlandish characters you’ll meet this millennium. Join them on this well-brewed adventure, spiralling ever downwards towards madness …or worse …sanity!
Rabbit Hole NW3 Theatre
Basement of The Duke Of Hamilton 23-25 New End Hampstead London NW3 1JD
Tickets via www.ticketsource.co.uk/hatterandhare