Opening Night : The Wonderful World of Dissocia at The Questors Theatre, Ealing

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Photography: Robert Vass

Lisa is strumming her guitar; a chord snaps. A Swiss clockmaker pays a call to explain that she has lost an hour from her life. In order to restore balance to her life, she must call the Dissocian Embassy and take a lift down to reclaim her hour from the Lost Property Office – which, it turns out, has lost itself.

So begins a series of adventures that seemingly parallel Alice in Wonderland: the lift replaces the rabbit hole, with the Swiss watchmaker standing in for the white Rabbit. Various other encounters include a Dissocian version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and a bureaucratical White Queen who remains completely unfased by everything including assault and abuse at the hands (or hooves) of a perverse (scape)goat; there is also a trip in a magnificent pedal car which flies across the skies of Dissocia, in pursuit of – or escape from – the dreaded Black Dog King, and finally a magnificent battle.

The story continues to parallel Alice in that it ends with an awakening, although sadly it is not as idyllic as the riverside bank – the ‘awake’ world is a very real and grey place, devoid of colour, almost Dystopian by contrast : small wonder that Lisa has little desire to remain. At one point she describes the hypnotic charm of the siren, luring the sailors who hear it to smash their ships on the rocks. They think it’s worth it – for the song. In the same way, Lisa wishes to return to Dissocia: the colours are brighter there.

The Wonderful World of Dissocia opened to a full house last night, and finished to prolonged and enthusiastic applause: well-earned for a vibrant, colourful, scintillating and sensitive production in the expert hands of David Emmett. The World of Dissocia that Lisa visits is convincingly realised, in all its comedy and terror. Sherralyn Lee shines as a bright, bubbly Lisa, in her increasingly frustrated search for the lost hour, along with a strong supporting cast that includes Sandy Bhardwaj, Emily Thomas, Joe Foster and Allan Soper.

A production rich in detail and well worth seeing on many levels.

The Wonderful World of Dissocia runs until 30th May.

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