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Wonderland


Royal Lyceum Theatre
4 stars
On a movie screen, a terrified young woman is pleading for her life in 
what could be a scene from a lo-fi horror flick. The next time we see 
the woman we find out is called Alice, she’s in front of a camera 
again, just as scared as she auditions for a hard-core porn film. Is 
Alice for real here, or is she faking it, to death if necessary?

These are some of the questions being asked by director Matthew Lenton 
in Vanishing Point’s look at the dark side of pornography, co-produced 
with two Italian companies and Trmway, Glasgow. Here, as Alice’s tale 
is paralleled by an internet porn addict’s own descent, performers, 
directors and consumers become complicit in some psycho-sexual rabbit 
hole where love, erotica and even cheap thrills are forsaken in favour 
of what looks like extreme forms of mutual abuse.

The third in Vanishing Point’s loose-knit trilogy of impressionistic 
works seen largely behind glass, where Interiors and Saturday Night 
looked at the public and private tics of human behaviour, Wonderland is 
the dirty little secret lurking behind both. While there is much more 
heard dialogue here than in the other two pieces, the images played out 
on Kai Fischer’s set and pulsed along by Mark Melville’s brooding score 
are snapshots from the grimmest of fantasias.

As Alice, Jenny Hulse is unflinching as she leads a Scots-Italian cast 
of seven through some of the play’s starker, more naturalistic moments. 
The “normal, healthy individual” played by  Paul Thomas Hickey’ is even 
more troubling. It’s the matter-of-factness that scares the most in a 
brave and deeply serious theatrical meditation on the uglier aspects of 
the sex industry today.

The Herald, August 30th 2012

ends



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