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BWW Review: WONDERLAND Rocks at Imagination Stage

BWW Review: WONDERLAND Rocks at Imagination Stage

"We're all mad here." The Cheshire Cat, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Madness isn't just prominent in Carroll's world of Wonderland. Madness often finds itself the center of song lyrics such as Tear for Fears' pop rock hit, "Mad World." It's no wonder Imagination Stage's production "Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure" combines Carroll's world with that of rock. In Wonderland, Alice has nothing to do expect to practice her scales on a lazy afternoon. However, that all changes as Alice encounters the White Rabbit. Soon, she is thrown into the mad world of Wonderland and meets an array of eclectic characters including The Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. Imagination Stage's production, directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer) takes elements of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and adds a bit of his poem, "The Jabberwocky" to create a musical filled with catchy rock and roll tunes.

In the production, the actors all take on multiple roles, sing, and play instruments. The cast's musicality shines through during each song. The most standout songs include "Rules are Rules," "Keep Your Temper," "The Cheshire Cat's Song," "Wonderland (Reprise 2), "It's a Mad World," "Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee," and "Believe in the Impossible." These songs are memorable, fun, and catchy for children in the audience to sing along. Not only are the songs enjoyable, but the acting is as well. Erin Weaver is a brilliant Alice. She brings out a different side of Alice that isn't shown in Carroll's work. Weaver's Alice is uproariously funny and quirky especially during scenes in which she interacts with The Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and the Mad Hatter. Other memorable acting moments include Aaron Bliden's zen Caterpillar, Hasani Allen's charming Cheshire Cat, Matthew Aldwin McGee's flighty White Rabbit, MATTHEW ALAN Ward's cross-dressing Queen of Hearts, and MATTHEW ALAN Award's quirky Mad Hatter.

Wonderland's production elements including the set, costumes, and puppets add an excellent touch to the musical. The set, designed by Misha Kachman, features movable doors and a stationary set in the background. The costumes, designed by Ivania Stack, are modern (with the exception of Alice's sister's outfit) and fit into the rock and roll aesthetic. The Jabberwocky and Dormouse puppets, designed by Matthew Pauli, are very detailed and well made. The Jabberwock, a monster featured in Carroll's nonsense poem, "The Jaberwocky", is frightful looking and similar to John Tenniel's illustration of the Jabberwock, but it isn't too scary to overwhelm children in the audience.

Imagination Stage's production of Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure is a great way to introduce children to Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, but also lets people of all ages rock out.

Running time: About 1 hour and 30 minutes without an intermission

Photo caption: Alice stumbles upon a Mad Tea Party with the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and sleepy Dormouse.(L-R: MATTHEW ALAN Ward, Daven Ralston, Matthew Schleigh, Erin Weaver, and Ensemble) Photo by Margot Schulman.

Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure runs until August 13, 2017. For tickets and show information, please visit http://imaginationstage.org/.

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From This Author Hannah Wing

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