Alice in Streamingland at Phoenix Artists Club

Alice In Streamingland was my first adult panto of the year and I was thrilled to get into the theatre to get my panto cheer. Like many I have been very grateful for streaming services and my binge watching Tiger King seems like a life time ago! I was therefore looking forward to mixing my love of theatre with these programmes.

In Alice in Streamingland, Alice is a Tik Tok star, The Queen of Hearts is a Drag Queen from Ru Paul’s Drag race and The White Rabbit is Joe Exotic. Scenes from the Crown are parodied and numerous references are made to reality TV stars. Therefore if you haven’t been glued to your TV during lockdown then you may miss some of these references which would impact on how enjoyable the show was.

The story of Alice in Streamingland is patchy at best but loosely Alice has ended up in Streamingland, there are references to the Queen of Hearts who wants to control the streaming services, a reality TV star called the White Knight who has an affair with all of the characters involved, throw in a black and white cat, a Dot Cotton style pregnant character, a caterpillar and a knave. As this description probably indicates the storyline may have been the last consideration for this show.

I would have also liked a wider reference of shows, especially considering the number there is to choose from over lockdown. Even if it was a few more clever one liners that referenced some of the more popular shows from lockdown. There also wasn’t many of the traditional pantomime elements, understandably it was harder with social distancing in place but the wasn’t much of ‘Oh no it’s not’ or ‘He’s behind you,’ and the call and response that there was seemed to fall a bit flat.

The songs were a mash up of what sounded like pop with a smattering of Eurovision camp thrown in, a few lesser known musical theatre songs (He Vas My Boyfriend and Life In Living Colour) as well as a Disney Mash up. I did enjoy the fact that the songs were not obvious choices that you hear repeated in pantomime. The Disney Mash up was also very clever, not only a nod to Disney + but a moment where, unless you really have lived in a cave since birth, you would be able to laugh along at the familiarity.

Some of the cast had really strong voices, Matt Bateman played the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and Knave of Hearts and he was really able to shine with his vocal ability. You could tell throughout the show that the cast were talented but unfortunately the material they were given didn’t give them the chance to shine. Whilst in panto it isn’t character development that you look for you do need to either love or hate the characters and unfortunately in Alice in Streamingland I felt neither.

Whilst Alice In Streamingland had lots of promise with the concept and perfect for a lockdown audience but unfortunately the mismatched storyline and the fact that I didn’t feel strongly about any of the characters let this premise down.

Alice In Streamingland is on until the 3rd January at The Phoenix Artists Club. You can buy tickets on this website.

If you liked this review you might also like my review of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Potted Panto at The Garrick Theatre and my write up of stagey masks.

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