Review: Alice, A Virtual Theme Park, Creation Theatre

When was the last time you visited a theme park? Or a mirror cabinet? Or an immersive theatre performance? Alice, A Virtual Theme Park is a combination of all these things. A virtual performance put together by Creation Theatre Company that takes you on an exciting journey into a familiarly strange world. 

“Alice?”, you’re probably wondering, “The Alice?”. Yes, The Alice and guess what? We are all invited to join her in Wonderland. The show is based on the original novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, was adapted and directed by Zoe Seaton and it is about as crazy in there as it is in the mind of the Mad Hatter.

As audience members we start the show on a secret website which gives us the chance to have an introductory chat with the rather irritated Cheshire Cat. Any questions you might have – the Cheshire Cat (quite a smart chat bot) has some sort of an answer. On the strike of the hour we are suddenly pulled into the rabbit hole via Zoom and find ourselves – through the magic of special effects by Paul McEneaney – in Wonderland. And down there Alice (Leda Douglas) and us stumble across some familiar faces – The Mad Hatter (Dharmesh Patel), the March Hare (Colm Gormley), Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Tom Richardson) and of course the feared Queen of Hearts (Vera Chok). But it is up to us in which order we want to move through Wonderland and be introduced to all the different creatures.

It becomes a back and forth between our web browser, which gives us a chance to choose the next adventure, and the Zoom performances from the actors. Until, that is, the action is eventually interrupted by a surprising yet wonderfully entertaining hedgehog race on our mobile phones (quick word of advice here: put some effort into the design of your hedgehog – it will be worth it!).

As the title suggests, Alice, A Virtual Theme Park feels like a rollercoaster. Not only do we meet a colourful bunch of people but witness a show with a storyline that is just as strange but can admittedly be hard to follow at times. With that being said, it certainly is big fun for kids. We enter a magical land full of wonders that take place in a hat theatre or in the form of a musical statues competition and ‘change places’ games. Alice, A Virtual Theme Park is exactly what it promises to be – a virtual source of immersive entertainment for the whole family. It makes an astonishing use of the technology that we use in our everyday lives and allows the audience to immerse themselves in the show to the extent that they choose. All of this is supported by splendid performances from actors who fully dive into the absurdity to create an entertaining spectacle with mirrors, make-up and madness.

Alice, A Virtual Theme Park is playing online until 30 August 2020. For more information and tickets visit the Creation Theatre website.