Victoria Fringe Festival
The Mad Hatter is a character that most of us know from Alice in Wonderland. But who is he really? And what is his ‘madness’? And wait – is that free tea on stage?
Andrew Wade takes elements and themes from the Alice in Wonderland and Jabberwocky to tell his own version of the Hatter’s story. It begins as one would expect – frenetic, cheerful and zany. But the Hatter’s cheer soon shows a tragic edge, and the story takes a somewhat unexpected direction.
I say ‘somewhat’, because the text alludes to the big reveal early in the show. And by the time Wade’s Hatter bares his soul and uncovers his past, it isn’t much of a surprise. The script could have used some tightening, and the entire production seemed to be a disconcerting mix of audience-pandering and self-indulgence. But despite these things, it was a very enjoyable hour. Wade is a talented actor and a gifted singer. And he seems to truly love being onstage. The Hatter needs a director to tighten the text and to give specific intent to Wade’s ‘madness’, but it is a clever, original take on the ‘Alice myth’.