Take bohemian street performers, a fluorescent multi-headed caterpillar, and a rabbit who sings Justin Timberlake and what do you get? Stone Bridge High School’s highly unconventional performance of "Alice in Wonderland," which enjoyably proved to be "perfectly idiotic."
Contrary to Lewis Carroll’s familiar Victorian book and Disney movie, in this curious show, Alice does not dream of falling into a rabbit hole but rather riding down an elevator. She then finds herself in the London Underground where she meets many peculiar characters. While maintaining the wondrous elements of the children’s book, the show incorporated sidesplitting pop-culture references including "Snakes on A Plane," or rather "grapes on a train," Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, the Fantanas, punks and ravers.
Jenny Abercrombie as Alice added a sense of reality to the play with her innocent poise and logic. Lewis Carroll (Zach Kopciak), who guided Alice through her reverie, instilled a forceful presence into his character. As The White Rabbit (Jim Cook) scootered about stage, he displayed a knack for physical comedy and faultless timing. The Red Queen’s (Chelsea Sorensen) facial expressions and unyielding accent, and the Duchess’ (Sammie Teran) astounding voice and demeanor, each added their own piquancies to the performance. The Mad Hatter (Chris DuGuay), March Hare (AJ Pendola) and Dormouse (Austen Willis) created a hysterical tea party, highlighting the Dormouse’s bohemian-style story telling.
The Mouse (Becca Zapfel) utilized an endearingly squeaky voice, and was especially memorable during the slow-motion scene as she cleverly triumphed as the last one standing. The caterpillar girls (Jillian Kinder, Katie Kramer, Chelsea Johnson, Alexa Blake) were as fun and lively together as their vibrantly colored hair. Representing Alice’s alter ego, Alice’s Squad skipped, jump roped and danced around Alice, always drawing attention.
Though the generally disjointed plot caused some confusion, the cast was committed and energetic. Combined with some actors’ poor diction, sound (Larry Howe, Corey Pless) also had feedback issues and malfunctioning microphones, but the techno music added a spunky twist to the play. Lighting (Daniel Hopkins, Jaclyn Windser), including the blue light acting as the tears Alice was drowning in, always illustrated the mood. Collin Chew, Austin Collins and AJ Pendola’s props and effects heightened the eccentricity of the show with flamingos, mechanical cars and televisions that helped the Cheshire Cat vanish and reappear.
Stone Bridge’s talented cast certainly tackled a demanding show, but kept the audience grinning like the Cheshire Cat.