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Fringe Review - Synapse: Digging for Apples

Shed 11 $10/$8/$7
March 21-25 8pm
March 23-25 8pm & 10.15pm

Staged in the high ceilinged expanse of Shed 11, Synapse: Digging for Apples beautifully interprets Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland as a surrealistic nightmare of authority and conformity.

It begins with Alice, who leads the audience down a screen corridor towards a video projection of a child playing in a garden. In other parts of the building noises, voices and music mutter intermittently, like half remembered dreams. Alice's curiosity takes her (and us) through into the next room, and Wonderland begins.

Each room is dominated by a single authoritarian character who attempts to instruct or mould Alice into 'correct' physical, mental or social postures. Each character is a picture of a mind going insane under a burden of social grace. In the guise of the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle and the White Rabbit, the teacher, the lawyer and the husband become tortured relics of Victorian Britain.

As each scene comes to an end wall(s) in the room dissolve and another space is created. The audience follow Alice in her surprised discovery of new rooms, new characters, and Shed 11 effectively dissolves into thin air - a great piece of direction by Anastasia Daillanis.

At times hilarious, at times hideous, Alice's humourous naiivite and asides to the audience defuse any potential for a tirade of boring colonial misogyny from her tormentors. All the characters are portrayed with fantastic energy, and the inclusion of video projection is as seamless as the changes of scene.

Film productions of Alice in Wonderland have taken Carrolls text to lampoon post-imperial Britain, Synapse puts it's own humourous spin on themes of ridiculous authority and quiet desperation, subtly addressing contemporary themes of body image and sexism. The show's innovative staging and direction create a sense of an unfolding nightmare, and the energy and pace of the actors is constantly engaging.

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