There are reasons to be sceptical coming into When Alice (Cooper) Met (Prince) Harry. The show's Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme entry promises 'quirky and touching solo comedy' with little further detail and its posters, though they certainly scream 'eclectic', don't shed any further light on the show's content. There's a reason for this: the less you know about When Alice (Cooper) Met (Prince) Harry coming in, the better the show will be. Keep that in mind before deciding if you want to read on.
So you're reading on? Well alright then, but just know that this sentence is your last chance to escape this review without encountering some spoilers. On entering a conference room with seating for a maximum of 15 people, audience members find a leaflet purporting to be from a group called Edinburgh Free Talks. The leaflet explains that today's talk is to be delivered by Alice Mary Cooper and is titled 'A brief history of contemporary theatre; theory and practice'. Unsurprisingly, audience members wonder if they've come to the wrong venue. Others, as the show's start time comes and goes without any sign of Cooper, speculate that they might be the subjects of an elaborate psychological experiment. When Cooper finally arrives, wrapped in tin foil and wearing a clown nose as her alter ego Fifi, it seems they might not be too far from the truth. Alice has been hit by a bus, Fifi explains. Fifi will take it from here.
What follows are 50 of the most baffling, uncomfortable, and hilarious minutes you could ever hope to live through. Even after the initial surprise is revealed, Cooper keeps the crowd from ever really settling in with a series of comic twists and turns, delivered with stunning physicality that's made all the more impressive by the frankly miniscule space she is working in. To say any more here would only detract from the pleasure of the show. If audience interaction freaks you out, this show is not for you. If you like to leave shows safe in the knowledge that you've understood what just happened, this show is not for you. If you want to see free, ambitious and wildly funny alternative comedy of a kind that only the Fringe can offer, then When Alice (Cooper) Met (Prince) Harry is most definitely for you.