Eat Me! Drink Me! Buy Me!

"Did she fall or was she pushed?" posits the Mad Hatter (Annie Neat), as Three Mugs of Tea embark on their consumerist take on Alice in Wonderland. It's a question which could as easily apply to the audience as it does to Alice, as I can't help wondering how many people knew they were being pushed into a social commentary when entering the theatre.

Getting the audience to chant "shopping, shopping" over and over does not a social commentary make

I can see the appeal of choosing Lewis Carroll's novel as a basis for a piece on how advertising and marketing has turned us a 'little bit mad', but it feels like the aesthetic has been thrown hastily over the show's more pressing concern with personal financial desires and debts. The story works quite nicely to begin with, when Alice (Emily Darley) falls down the hole, being fooled by adverts and salespeople. However, the allegory between Wonderland and a Shopping Centre wears thin pretty quickly and is completely thrown out of the window with the song We Are Consumers.

The cast do have a good sense of humour and embody the different character traits of Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, Judge and Salesperson brilliantly, but it just doesn't follow the original story of Alice in Wonderland and seems like the two concepts were tacked together without much deeper thought as to why. True, the Drink Me drink as a slimming product is a nice touch, and there are subtle nuances like this about, but they're drowned out by the much more obvious and sloppy attempts at denouncing capitalism. Getting the audience to chant "shopping, shopping" over and over does not a social commentary make.

I can't help feeling that compared to the wondrous plot of the original story, audience members will feel underwhelmed by the new plot in which Alice doesn't meet the Red Queen but does take out a Wonga loan. The show looks good, but it seems the company have put more emphasis on appearance and dramatic technique than content, which is ironic considering one scene where the ensemble convinces Alice she must look a certain way and take no care in anything else. The Hatter finishes by imploring the audience to think before they buy - perhaps something to bear in mind at the box office.

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The Blurb

Loosely based on Lewis Carroll's classic novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the play explores the gritty truth about the consumerist world we live in. Follow pure, innocent Alice as she 'trips' down the dark rabbit hole of debt into Wonderland. Meeting many familiar, unsettling characters spinning a web of loans and spending, Alice faces the confusions and troubles that many of us are confronted with every day. With the use of vibrant songs, twisted poetry and humour, the audience are taken on the journey of Alice, or perhaps, themselves.

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