I saw Alice at the Midtown International Theater Festival yesterday. It was early! 11am! Who sees theater that early! It’s a festival, I understand. Nevertheless I was bright eyed and bushy tailed (practically) and there on time! My thought going in can be summed up in what a friend said to me “Oh. I was unaware we needed ANOTHER telling of Alice in Wonderland.” But I did my best to go in with an open mind. I am certainly one of the many who is excited by that story so that was a good step.
All in all I think that the show was pretty good. There were a few good songs, and a number of great performances, particularly from the women. But many of the songs also began to get a bit repetitive and some of the mens voices I found to be a little cookie-cutter Musical Theater – pleasant, but kind of uninteresting.
The biggest strength however, was the directing and staging. This story has a number of points that call for some creative storytelling, and they did a wonderful job with only a few props. A single ladder was the creative tool used when Alice got bigger, smaller, went through a door, went on a ship, and I’m sure a number of other things that I’m not thinking of. Umbrellas too had a wide range of uses. The transitions were seamless. It was visually a very exciting piece.
It fits in such a weird niche that I don’t know what the future would be without either expanding it or relegating it to the world of college Alice in Wonderlands. I’m not sure what it was trying to be. It was maybe a bit too avant garde for children and/or the general populace, and it seemed too short to be a full length. I do hope that they will do something more with it, and in any case I am interested in hearing more by this writing and producing team.