Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Review

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Review

I saw The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Roundhouse. This is quite far away from where I live so I only saw the first half of this performance so this review is based on what I saw. Essentially the play is about the characters of Alice in Wonderland in therapy. Each character has a mental-illness and the therapist is trying to understand what is wrong with each of them and why they are like this.

This play is aimed at all ages; however, parents have to be aware that there are themes that children will not understand. So first you have Alice; she doesn’t know whether she should be big or small: she has anorexia. Next you have the Mad Hatter who is week and in pain due to “mercury poisoning”, so in other words he is addicted to drugs. Now you have the Queen of Hearts. When she was younger she was abused by her parents making her feel like she has to stand up for herself, causing her to grow up with anger management issues. The story of Tweedledumb and Tweedledee were the first to be found out but I found this the saddest of all. One of the twins died when they were little due to a fight that led to an accident and the other twin still imagines the other is there by screaming about a stolen rattle. My favourite of the actors was the White Rabbit. He has OCD and I found the way he portrayed the illness fitted very well with the character of the White Rabbit. Cheshire Cat was brought in and it was clear that he had been “smoking herbs” that has led to him feeling as though he has more than one personality, so he suffers from multi-personality disorder due to drug abuse. The Arch Hair has attachment issues and can’t seem to find a girlfriend that will stay with him which has led to depression and I am also pretty sure they hinted to him being suicidal but this was not direct due to the large volume of children in the room.

I absolutely love the idea of attaching mental illnesses to the characters from Wonderland. Although it brings a negative association to the term “mad” (I always think being a bit mad is nice), I think it is a great way of exposing issues of mental illness. However, I do have some major criticisms about this piece. The characters broke into hip-hop all of the time. I’m all for dance but the hip-hop wasn’t making sense and felt very detached from the emotions and themes. The OCD piece by the White Rabbit and the final dance by the therapist did, in fairness, work very well as hip-hop but this is only 2 out of a few dozen dance pieces. I feel like the piece would have worked amazingly without the hip-hop, or with the hip-hop but without the mental illness. It felt like throwing Alice in Wonderland, mental illness, and hip-hop was an attempt to draw as many people in as possible but they didn’t work together at all. It felt detached but not in a successful Brechtian way.

Another major criticism I have is the play being open to children. There was a young girl behind me who couldn’t have been older than 4. After the serious explanations of the mental-illnesses were given she would turn and ask her mother “what does that mean”. There is so much in the media lately about mental health issues being made aware and I felt this play almost made a mockery of that. The only thing in the play for the children was the dancing and I felt highly uncomfortable being around so many children when they were talking about beloved children’s characters wanting to kill themselves. I believe it may be successful for early secondary school children as they may understand the seriousness of mental health issues and could make them more aware, but this effect can’t happen on primary school children they are just too young to understand the seriousness. This play would have been hugely successful in my eyes if the hip-hop was taken out and the truths about these mental illnesses were shown to their full extent.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie’s Bubble J

 

Wicked Review

Wicked Review

I’ve always said that I will never see a musical a second time in case it ruins my previous experience. Then I discovered Mousetrap Theatre Projects and was compelled to see Wicked again. I was very apprehensive because Wicked was my first musical so I thought I wouldn’t like it as much, especially now that I have seen “serious” musicals such as Les Mis and Miss Saigon. I was in for an amazing surprise.

I have always loved the music from Wicked so for the last 7 years have been playing the original Broadway soundtrack with Idina Menzel and Christopher Fitzgerald. The different singing voices took a while to get used to, some moments and notes I didn’t like as much and some I loved a lot more, but none were particularly hated. I thought no one could beat Idina Menzel but Rachel Tucker definitely did in my books! I have never taken to Idina Menzel as a person but her voice is undoubtedly amazing, but Rachel Tucker’s voice alongside the way she portrayed Elphaba made me fall in love with her and the character even more!

Fiyero is a different story. I did enjoy Oliver Savile’s performance but I much preferred Lee Mead’s from when I had seen it before. I must admit Oliver Savile didn’t stand much of a chance as Lee Mead is one of my favourite actors so Lee Mead is and always will be the Fiyero of my heart.

Seven years is a long time, allowing me to forget some key points in the musical, still leaving me shocked towards the end. I have also never attended a musical where I already knew all of the words. I found this contributed a lot to my interpretation of the musical. I didn’t see it for all of the fantasy: I saw it as a girl who doesn’t fit in and no matter how good she is and how she tries to help only few see the good in her. Although Elphaba ends up with Fiyero, there is still sadness because Glinda thinks they are both dead, showing that there is still no perfect happy ending, very much like life.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie’s Bubble =D

Introduction

Introduction

Hello! I (Sophie) am a Drama student and Queen Mary University of London and have always wanted a place to write what I’m thinking and decided it was about time to do it. My blog will probably entail talk about Theatre (particularly reviews) and may also include thought and opinions on life itself as I am that sort of person!

I want this blog to be a place where I can write freely. I am not going to make it something I do in certain time frames or in any frequency and I don’t care if I don’t make sense, sometimes I may not even read back over what I have written. So if you are reading this, I hope you find my blog interesting and if not that’s okay 🙂

Thanks,

Sophie’s Bubble =D