One of three shows Belt Up are presenting at this year’s Fringe, for Outland the company jumped headfirst down a rabbit hole into the wonderful world of Lewis Carroll. They surfaced, a little crumpled, to create a frantic three-hander vignette that feels a bit concertinaed but is never dull. In a cosy room encased with a wardrobe, dressing-up box, sofas and a number of cramped audience members perched on cushions, writer Dominic Allen takes us on a flight of fancy into Carroll’s brain, bleeding a number of stories into one new tale.
Led by Sylvia and Bruno, the brother and sister at the heart of one of Carroll’s lesser-known works, we are presented with a perspective on Carroll’s genius that posits that his flights of fancy stemmed from a form of epilepsy. The cast rush around literally flinging themselves from character to character being one moment the evil uncle, passionate tutor, lovelorn suitor or even jabberwocky. They move lightning fast, throwing on and off outfits like maniacs on speed. It’s impressive but also in this intimate space slightly bemusing.
Out of the steam it seems it’s all about growing up and the scary idea that dreaming may sometimes be OK. It takes itself too seriously at the end and some of the philosophising is trite but Outland is a sweet and inventive hour from this confident company.