Pros: Two excellent performers and a funny, if ridiculous, plot.
Cons: The show is slightly too long and occasionally repetitive.
Usually, when I go to a review, I like to go in without too much prep work. Sometimes this leads to surprises, as in this instance. I got on my bike for a seven o’clock show in Hampstead, involving two Lewis Carroll characters, and assumed it would be a family show. How wrong I was. However, fortunately that was not a bad thing.
In The Mercurious Misadventures of Hatter and Hare, Wonderland’s Mad Hatter and March Hare are sent on a mission. On the will of their recently deceased friend, the Dormouse, they leave Wonderland for the dangers of the real world. They encounter volatile twin policemen, ghostly paintings and Dutch stoners, all while trying to solve the Dormouse’s riddles. Spoiler alert: despite their best intentions, they do not make it home in time for tea.
Hatter and Hare, along with all the other characters in the show, are all portrayed by comedy duo Maximillian Hooper and Elliot Thomas. Each equipped with a hat-stand full of headgear the pair pull off some impressively quick character changes, usually by just putting on a different hat and accent. Not that they’d have much room for anything more elaborate. The Rabbit Hole NW3 Theatre’s basement auditorium is so low, and the stage so tiny, that anyone remotely claustrophobic should probably steer clear of the venue.
If I had to describe this show in two words, it would be ‘a lot’. There is a lot of hyperactive energy, a lot of over the top-ness and a lot of crossed eyes, weird voices and slow motion running. In such a small space it’s a real credit to the actors that they (mostly) manage it all without it being too in your face. A few of the routines are trotted out once too often and some of the jokes could be seen as more self-indulgent than clever.
The narrative framework of the show is a father telling his child a bedtime story. This doesn’t add much to the show but a longer running time, and makes it slightly longer than, perhaps, it should be. Despite this, its’ 70 minutes does go by quickly and there are more than just a few laugh-out-loud moments.
Overall, The Mercurious Misadventures of Hatter and Hare is a very competent piece of nonsensical fun. Infact it’s quite the master class in how much you can do with limited space and budget. The costumes and the props are extremely simple, often homemade, yet effective and evocative. So, if you’re not adverse to a bit of, both Wonderland and real world, swearing, and you like your comedy with a generous helping of surrealism, this show is well worth a visit.
Written and produced by: Aelfa Centauri Theatre Company
Booking Link: http://www.camdenfringe.com/detailact.php?acts_id=272
Booking Until: This show has now closed but check the production companies website for information on future performances.