The Wonderland in question in this production is online teenage chatrooms where adolescents virtually get up to all the stuff their parents really do not want to know about. The cyber tale revolves around the sexual power struggle between three main protagonists, couple Jon and Alison who are in a tired and non commutative relationship and the mysterious Gabrielle who enters their lives through a chat room they frequent. Gabrielle senses their fractured relationship, and the couple lured by his charisma, he proceeds to systematically manipulate and individually seduce them.
The most appealing element of this production is the script, although at worst the dialogue is completely risible. At times it is startlingly effective, it is terse and snappy and at its best is reminiscent of David Mamet. Although it does not quiet succeed in capturing the enigmatic, mercurial quality of Mamet’s work, it is impressive from such a young writer. The dialogue is most effective in the ëonlineí scenes where the cast stand static and deliver their lines with mechanised monotony. This technique effectively heightens the tension and enriches the intent simmering beneath the stark surface of the dialogue.
However, Malice in Wonderland has the curious effect of trying to be contemporary but ending up being dated: It questions the implications the Internet has on identity and how the anonymous nature of on-line chat rooms can be exploited for unsavoury purposes but the concept of cyber stalking seems to have already come and gone with out making any real waves and to the majority of people today the internet is a domestic appliance and is as about insidious as a sandwich toaster.
Simon Patrick Biggs