The Hatter – Mad About Earnest

Meaghan Flaherty

                The Mad Hatter gone sane – impossible, and yet made possible by Andrew Wade through his newest production of The Hatter. This play explores the psyche of the Mad Hatter after he is banished from a “post-Alice” Wonderland for becoming sane. He begins to remember his haunting past, and wishes to return to Wonderland before he fully recalls what exactly made him insane in the first place. As he embarks on a quest with the audience to bring back Wonderland through this play/tea party, the Hatter himself goes through a transition, as he re-discovers the man under the infamous hat. The Hatter is a fun show with many references to the beloved tale, and just enough audience participation.

Written and performed by Andrew Wade, The Hatter advertises itself as a tea party, though it ends up being more of an intervention. The show is well executed, with some interesting sound bites thrown into the rather ordinary tech design that reveal the Hatters haunting memories. He clings to his insanity as he makes the audience some absurd cups of tea (with condiments such as: ketchup, dill, and chicken seasoning) and ultimately battles the Jabberwocky. The script is well written and interesting, as Wade jumps from one creative medium to the next: songs, to poetry, to monologues, to audience participation. He manages to keep the audience guessing about what exactly it is that he’ll do next. Wade also successfully plays many of the most beloved characters from Wonderland. He gives each one just enough of its designated personality so that the audience is able to recognize each one without the Hatter having to tell us.  The final psychological analysis of the hatter is rather ordinary, and perhaps that was the point – to bring ordinary to such an extraordinary character – but it felt too simple a reveal for a character that has consistently been larger than life.  Ultimately, the hatter is good, lighthearted fun with free tea included!

Written and Performed by Andrew Wade