Making a song and dance about madness

  • Theatre
Making a song and dance about madness


Mon, 16/01/2017 - 14:01


Corey Culverwell in The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Photo: Alice Pennefather
Corey Culverwell in The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Photo: Alice Pennefather
16 January, 2017

at The Roundhouse

IF you want to start the new year off with a smile big enough to ward off those threatening post-Brexit blues you could do no better than watch ZooNation Dance Company’s gloriously wacky take on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. 

As we know, it’s a pretty mad place to begin with, but Kate Prince has created a narrative that takes a wry look at the nature of madness itself, interpreted via electrifying dance moves that will just blow you away. 

Alice and co are inmates of the Institution for Extremely Normal Behaviour on account of their various personality disorders. For example, poor Alice can’t make up her mind what size to be – identity crisis – while White Rabbit is obsessed with time – OCD. A psychiatrist has been given the task of “fixing” them. He can’t, of course, and is drawn instead into their topsy turvy world, joining them for the eventual tea party. 

For such a considered storyline, narrated by a sometimes overlong voiceover, it is not enough to be able to dance brilliantly, the cast has got to be able to act as well and ZooNation regular Teneisha Bonner delights as the haughtily bad-tempered Queen of Hearts, while Issac “Turbo” Baptiste’s laid-back Mad Hatter and Jaih Betote’s nervy White Rabbit also stand out. 

Ben Stones’ vividly coloured costumes and set design add to the visual thrills, but the real ace in the pack is the five-piece backing band, led by the exquisite vocals of Elliotte Williams-N’Dure. Performing from a raised platform, the band is so good and so eclectic in its range of styles, it often draws attention away from the action on the stage, which is probably not what is intended. Top marks to composers Josh Cohen and DJ Walde. 

Until January 22
0300 6789 222 

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