Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Alice in Wonderland
In this telling, Alice (Kathy Gordon) is having a tea party with her dolls and stuffed animals when a malevolent new governess (Renata Veberyte Loman) tells her she's too old to play with such toys and takes them away, leaving her with a deck of cards. However, Alice's story is just beginning.
Gordon is a sweet and spirited Alice, but Alex Mills seizes the attention throughout as a swaggering Cheshire Cat in stockings and thigh-high boots. Kendra Rai's costume designs tend toward the punkish: Tweedledee (Augustin Beall) and Tweedledum (Thomas Beheler) are a louche pair with red mohawks and the imperious "Off-with-their-heads!" Queen of Hearts (Loman again) wears a gown festooned with some of those decapitated heads.
Rose's adaptation incorporates many highlights from Carroll's book and its sequel, "Through the Looking Glass," including the frazzled White Rabbit (Tori Bertocci); the Mad Tea Party with the Mad Hatter (Dallas Tolentino) and the March Hare (Justin J. Bell) moving like mechanized toys; and a surrealistic Caterpillar (Vato Tsikurishvili) whose body, played by members of the ensemble, enters into an independent kick line.
The whole thing plays out on Daniel Pinha's expansive set of overhead ladders, ominous-looking twisted structures rising from the ground, and a floor that resembles melted frosting in pastel colors. Colin K. Bills has designed numerous ingenious lighting effects, most strikingly Alice's tears that turn into illuminated blue drops.