AN enthusiastic round of ticket purchases some months ago—when 2017 seemed a distant prospect—yielded two hugely enjoyable theatrical outings this week. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Roundhouse was my first experience of hip-hop theatre. As the lights dimmed, there was a public announcement that set the tone, asking the audience to turn off their mobile phones, but make as much noise as possible.
The plot—indebted for its characters to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—was pedestrian, but it gave an excuse for an electrifying dance performance. The audience clapped its way through many of the numbers and we quickly discovered the real name of the dancer playing the Queen of Hearts because a nearby friend of hers endearingly roared ‘Go Jane!’ whenever she took centre stage.
Just three days previously, as a birthday treat, we had taken the children to The Little Match Girl in the candlelit intimacy of the Sam Wanamaker Theatre. The production was captivating, with wonderful music and a strikingly brilliant versified script. It’s a good thing that it was so engaging, because one child jumped on my lap to see the stage pretty much from the start of the performance. Nearly two hours later, I needed every distraction to forget the discomfiture. JG