Opening the brand new theatre space of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company (ASC), “Alice and the Book of Wonderland” offers an enchanting escape into an imaginative world of talking animals, adventure, riddles and alternative facts. The original work written by ASC Creative Director Sally Boyett (who also directs) and Donald Hicken, presents a contemporary retelling of the Lewis Carroll classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in highly original, detailed and fun fashion, appealing to all ages.
“Alice and the Book of Wonderland” is like a story that you wish would never end…
The energetic cast is led by Laura Rocklyn as Alice, who is endearing to audiences with her childlike curiosity. As the young, determined heroine, Rocklyn instills kindness and sprightliness in this role. Spinning, jumping, chasing, dancing, laughing, Alice and company are a whirlwind to watch throughout the quest for her beloved book which has fallen into the wrong paws of the White Rabbit, a high strung creature played by the comical Bill Dennison.
Along the way, others are extremely entertaining. In particular, Johnny Weissgerber showcases his range assuming the roles of Door 1, Duchess, Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, giving each character their own distinctive flair. Brian Keith MacDonald is delightful as the chill, hookah-smoking Caterpillar before cracking everyone up sadly singing about soup as the Mock Turtle. Olivia Ercolano enthusiastically embraces the role of the evil Red Queen, ordering heads to roll. Throughout all the brouhaha are clever references only grown ups will get that subtly weave current events into the story with talks of travel bans, building of walls and such.
Visually, there are so many things to take in throughout this exciting production. Every aspect is vibrant, with sublime scenes ranging from a lovely lake to a mesmerizing rabbit hole and other brilliant backdrops, thanks to the collective efforts of Mollie Singer (scenic design), Adam Mendelson (lighting design) and Joshua McKerrow (projections design). Bursts of trumpets, thunder and Dixieland jazz tunes add to the sensory experience courtesy of Boyett who oversees sound. Costume Designer Sandra Spence successfully captures the Victorian era vibe with a bright and playful wardrobe fitting for the Mad Hatter, Red Queen and the other colorful characters.
Early on when Alice is asked the question “Who are you?” she answers “I hardly know. I’ve changed several times. I’m not myself.” In the end, she emerges forever transformed from her memories of magic and mayhem.
The Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s “Alice and the Book of Wonderland” is like a story that you wish would never end. The production will leave you in awe and wanting more–go see it.
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes with one intermission.
“Alice and the Book of Wonderland” runs through August 20, 2017, at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. For tickets call (410) 415-3513 or visit here.