REVIEW: Alice In Streamingland @ Phoenix Arts Club

Brian Butler December 17, 2020

Sad to say that London is now plunged into Tier 3 and all theatres and music venues are closed. Before that severe curtailment of entertainment, I voyaged into the fantasy world of social media at the Phoenix Arts Club. Hopefully the show may come back – perhaps in filmed streaming format – who can tell ?Colin Savage has created a social media fantasy based on the adventures of Alice , and it’s a magical  adult Christmas treat .

Sophie Kaern plays  Alice as a feisty , gobby self-opinionated “ influencer “ and is so busy vlogging she scarcely cares when  a shotgun-toting White Rabbit  with a Southern States drawl catapults  her down his rabbit hole.

Dizzying special effects carry us not into Wonderland but Streamingland where we meet some of Lewis Carroll’s famous  characters transmogrified into even more grotesque personifications than we’re used to .

There’s a drunken lush of a barfly , the black and white tv and film cat ( Laura Hyde ) who makes a vain attempt to narrate in between gulps of vino , and who doubles up as a scary pregnant dominatrix Duchess, intent on punishing the buff White Knight , who’s  impregnated her.

Stripped to the waist and tied to a chair , he’s a vain, preening reality tv star – and Richard Dawes invests him with an engaging combination of camp ness and sexy allure .

He also doubles up as the Caterpillar, sprawled along the bar counter , in a strange impersonation of Prince Charles. More traditional is Colin Savage’s  Queen of Hearts who verbally abuses us in his many forays through the socially distanced audience tables .

Matt Bateman , plays a succession of baddies , including the White Rabbit and  the Knave of Hearts whose crime is stealing the Queen’s tart – in this case in our innuendo-laden show – the White Knight . There’s the usual panto nonsense , excellent special effects and a  slightly altered bunch of show tunes , under the  clever musical direction of James Doughty.

All 5 performers have full-on West End stage singing voices and their vocal power rings out  in the subterranean space at London’s Phoenix Arts Club.

And ofcourse there’s a singalong song all about someone’s pussy – well it had to be, didn’t it ? It’s a thoroughly uproarious evening at this very distinctive West End venue that deserves the success that hopefully this run of shows will bring.

The Phoenix has gone to incredible lengths to protect the audience, staff and performers, with masks, socially distancing and a drinks app to order remotely from the bar.

Let’s hope this further shutdown is very temporary. Check them out for when you can visit next.