Review: A BOLD AND TWISTED TAKE ON THE LEWIS CARROLL CLASSIC, ALICE GETS THE JOBSITE TREATMENT at JOBSITE THEATER

A Mental Mind Twist on a beloved classic tale, turns this fairytale on its head in the best way possible. Fall down the rabbit-hole through June 4th.

By: May. 15, 2023
Review: A BOLD AND TWISTED TAKE ON THE LEWIS CARROLL CLASSIC, ALICE GETS THE JOBSITE TREATMENT at JOBSITE THEATER
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If its the weird and somewhat twisted that you seek...if you find entertainment in exploring a warped sense of fantasy, then look no further than the genius that is The Ensemble Company of Jobsite Theater.

Ever since its production of Shockheaded Peter, Jobsite has harnessed a niche in the realm of the weird, and unexpected. Damn do they do it well.

Based of the writings of Lewis Carroll and the artwork of Spencer P. Meyers, comes the deliciously wicked, and "MAD" production of Alice. Set to original music with lyrics by Carroll, Colleen Cherry, Kasondra Rose, and Jeremy Douglass, we are invited to fall down the rabbit hole into a version of this classic tale, unlike anything we have ever seen.

Featuring an ensemble of seven performers, each playing multiple roles and an onstage band, Alice is dastardly good, and in the Shimberg Playhouse, proving that space is no obstacle when producing a piece such as this. At a swift 85 minutes you are propelled into Alice's world through song, choreography, aerial acrobatics, and puppets. You heard me right puppetry designed and constructed by Spencer P. Meyers.

Alice played by Julia Rifino is told through song, and adventure all while a puppet Alice is being orchestrated and telling our story. Julia's skills with the puppet are seamless, and you get a sense of the two becoming one cohesive working unit. Her vocals are unmatched here, and the opening number is somewhere a cross between Lana Del Rey and Enya. She is transcendent in this role and proves to be a powerhouse in her element.

Robert Spence Gabriel as the Jabberwocky/Knave of Hearts is somewhat the narrator of our story. His presence is commanding on stage and he is fully in from start to finish. His harmonies with Colleen Cherry soar to the rafters and blend harmoniously to create a beautiful moment.

Colleen Cherry always wickedly good, is absolutely marvelous as Bandersnatch/Queen of Hearts/King of Hearts. Her back and forth with Spence is a pissing match for the ages and always a great time, their chemistry onstage together is unmatched. For me, Ms. Cherry's show-stopping moment is "Off With Your Head!"

Donovan Whitney as Mad Hatter/White Knight/Caterpillar is our comic relief along the way. His moment as the White Knight will have you in stitches. Great addition to this ensemble of performers.

Always exceptional Ryan Sturm as White Rabbit/March Hare/Mock Turtle is hilarious running place to place, and very late for an important date! His turn as Mock Turtle is one of my favorite moments of the night. Having last seen Ryan onstage in this element for Avenue Q, his performance and connection with the puppets is unmatched, and a great job.

Katrina Stevenson as Cheshire Cat/Red Queen/Tweedle Sister 1 are all dramatic turns, and wonderful to watch. Her strength in the aerial movements make for an exceptional addition. Always outstanding and no stranger to the Jobsite arena, she propels the story forward with her commanding presence onstage.

Kasondra Rose as Dormouse/March Hare/Tweedle Sister 2/White Queen is wonderful here. It's always great to see Kasondra in the Jobsite arena, and her strength in the aerial movements along side Katrina makes for a stirring performance, that sets the company apart, knowing they are not afraid to go for it makes the work truly exceptional.

Under the Direction of the great David Jenkins, Jobsite's Alice is a feast for the eyes, and an energetic spectacle that keeps you wanting more. Alongside David is an exceptional team of artists working in tandem to produce this incredible production.

Brian Smallheer's set design allows the world of the show to work within the confines of the space. The use of the areas behind the curtains allow for other layers to unfold. Lighting Design by Jo Averill-Snell blends beautifully with Smallheer's set design and helps evoke the different moments along Alice's journey. Costume Design by Katrina Stevenson brings the whimsical world of Alice to our forefront and allows us to live amidst the fantasy of the story. With composition by Jeremy Douglass lending the music to the original lyrics brings another level to the fantasy of the story. With the help of the onstage band featuring Douglass, Elwood Bond, and Mark Warren we as the audience are transported into Alice's world. Choreography by Katrina Stevenson and Kasondra Rose adds another element to the show and keeps the show moving at a rapid pace. The beautiful aerial work will render you speechless and works well in the confines of a small space. Puppet Master and Designer/Construction extraordinaire Spencer P. Meyers takes his artwork and produces puppets with emotion, empathy, and a whimsical nature.Taking this production to new heights and putting the Jobsite stamp on this classic fairytale.

Adapted by Spencer P. Meyers, David Jenkins, and Katrina Stevenson, Jobsite's ALICE is a stunning marvel to uphold. I think that is what makes this production so unique. Outside of Carroll's writings both in lyrics and story, ALICE is an ensemble brainchild by the one company in the area known for harnessing the weird, the avant-garde, and making it uniquely Jobsite, and doing one hell of a job of it.

Do yourself a favor and book tickets to Jobsite's ALICE by visiting www.strazcenter.org, or www.jobsitetheater.org. You will have a wicked good time in the audience of this zany, mad, and downright breathtaking production. Don't worry, "We're All a Little Mad..."

Don't find yourself without a seat at the table the Mad Hatter is waiting, all you have to do is fall down the rabbit hole...Jobsite has created a unique take on this classic fairytale and one that you most definitely should experience. ALICE is onstage through June 4th.

PHOTO CREDIT: STAGE PHOTOGRAPHY OF TAMPA LLC-SPOT




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