Andrew Wade brings you The Hatter, which shows us what happened to the Mad Hatter once Alice left Wonderland. As it turns out, he started to become sane! The Hatter can’t have that happening, so you’re invited to his tea party to help him regain his insanity. Note: free tea included!
Should you see it?
Despite suffering from an overly large venue, Wade’s heartfelt performance shines through.
Andrew Wade’s The Hatter takes the titular character, originally from the Lewis Carroll literary classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and humanizes him right before the audience’s eyes by slowly revealing his life before Wonderland. Complete with tea for all attendees, the show has an enjoyable amount of participation, and two lucky people get to dress up as the Jabberwocky for the show’s climactic showdown.
From the start, the appreciation Wade has for the character and the source material is very apparent. Opening with an intentionally unimpressive tea setting strain with plastic forks and knives, as well as stuffed animals, Wade delves right in and delivers lines right out of Victorian England. After that, he begins to speak plainly and lets us in on his character’s plight. You honestly feel for him as his sanity begins reconstructing itself. While the narrative’s direction and end are hardly surprising, it’s a fun journey and Wade’s charm is undeniable. While it didn’t wow me, there’s enough to warrant a recommendation to others.
Where the show suffered was in its venue. The basement of St. Paul’s Eastern United is fairly large while the actual stage is quite small. Wade had sectioned off the area near the stage, but the echo of his voice in the room didn’t lend itself to the show. Compounding matters was the small audience turn-out. I was one of audience members, and having more people to participate in the sing-alongs or volunteer to be the Jabberwocky would have helped the atmosphere. But these are external factors. Fact is, Andrew Wade’s play is quite likable. Oh, and the tea is pretty good too.
But those are just my thoughts. If you would like to let me know how you found The Hatter, please leave a comment below.
Image for this article provided by The Ottawa Fringe.