Tea and Nuisance

Aug 25 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆  Charming

Leith Depot (Venue 214): Tue 22 – Sat 26 Aug 2017
Review by Sarah Moyes

Tea and Nuisance, by Foxfire Theatre, is an unusual but charming take on Lewis Carroll’s much loved story, Alice in Wonderland.

Set in 1950s Britain, Tea and Nuisance transports us to a garden full of roses with a peculiar looking glass and many curious tea sets.

Noora Muhonen. Pic Martin D. Cracknell copy

It’s here that we find Al or Alice as she’s known by the end of the show. She’s a girl who wants to live her life to the fullest, but is unfortunately too unwell to do so. It wouldn’t be Alice in Wonderland without those well-known characters. In this production her doctor is Mr Rabbit and her estranged auntie happens to love tea and hats, just like Hatter.

This new writing play is by Emmi Heijari and Lauren McFarlane of Foxfire Theatre, an Edinburgh based theatre company made up of students and graduates from Queen Margaret University. It pulls you in with the familiar faces from Alice, but takes you down a new path exploring issues of existing in absurd circumstances from the perspective of a young woman facing a disturbing reality.

Al is played by Noora Muhonen, who is making her Fringe debut. She gives an endearing performance, creating a girl who clearly has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she tries to figure out what lies ahead.

The character Al suffers from a terrible cough and, as the title suggests, it does become a bit of a nuisance to the show, especially in the first half when the cough can be a bit relentless at times.

Bold and funny

In the role of Mr Rabbit is Adam Bisset, who gives a strong performance as the curious doctor who knows more about what’s in the looking glass than he’s willing to tell Al.

Al’s estranged auntie is played by Megan Travers who is superb in the role. She’s bold and funny with lots of emotional baggage relating to Al’s childhood. She brings some much appreciated light humour to the show when she sneakily adds some of her secret stash of alcohol into each cup of tea.

There are a few moments in the play which could be explored in more depth. There are a lot of hints to Mr Rabbit and Al’s auntie knowing each other, but the story never seems to fully explain what is going on. Instead there’s just a lot of awkward stares between the pair. The ending is also a little rushed. It would have been nice if more time given to pulling the story together in more detail.

The Leith Depot, usually known for its music gigs rather than its theatre, works perfectly as an intimate venue. It’s also great to see the Fringe making its way further out of town, especially given how vibrant the art scene in Leith is.

Tea and Nuisance is a thoroughly delightful play from a promising new local theatre company.

Running time: one hour

Leith Depot, 138-140 Leith Walk, EH6 5DT (Venue 214)
Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26th August, 2017
Daily: 6.45pm.
Tickets from the #EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tea-and-nuisance

Foxfire Theatre on Facebook: @foxfiretheatre
Twitter: @foxfiretheatre


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