After two Covid-19 inspired delays, Lookingglass Alice is once again high flying, adored at the Lookingglass Theatre to the enjoyment of everyone. This glorious and highly imaginative production has quickly become the hallmark of their artistic brand. Stunning, entertaining, empowering and compelling, this gem of a show is a fest for the eyes and a treat for the family. Blending elements from Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Lookingglass stories, the aerial artistry and strength of the performers will awe. A circus infused production, choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi’s work on hoops, bungee cords, ropes and an extra-tall unicycle brings joy to all who attend. With director David Catlin at the helm, this masterful production is nothing but smooth sailing.
While this particular Alice is on her own journey to adulthood, she navigates a literal life-sized chessboard centerstage, only advancing forward after she comes in contact with, and more importantly learns a lesson from, a wide array of quirky characters. Alternating the role of the titular character, Lindsey Noel Whiting and Molly Hernandez are both adept at reciting their lines while also backflipping, mid-air, over the captivated audience. They both personify the requisite childhood innocence necessary for the character while demonstrating powerful acts of adult physical strength. Just as astute and athletically capable as their male counterparts, you will marvel at the sheer power of the performers.
As the Cheshire Cat, actor Adeoye climbs, jumps, flips and plunges across the entire two story stage with ease, utilizing only his strong arms as his safeguard. His broad, mischievous, toothy grin, equal parts devilish and playful. Michael Rodriquez Cintra a charming, frantic and frenetic White Rabbit. The real scene stealer, Kareen Bandealy, as the larger than life Red Queen. The two-story tall crimson costume made for quite the visual as the imposing imperial chewed all of the surrounding scenery with aplomb. Rounding out the cast, Samuel Taylor bringing comedic confidence to his roles as author and narrator, Dodgson, and the whimsical White Knight. Adeoye, Bandealy and Cintra also double as the familiar characters, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Humpty Dumpty, the Caterpillar and the White Queen, with hilarious results.
The fun clearly continued off the stage as well. Mara Blumenfeld’s rainbow bright and winsome costuming, impressed from start to finish. Daniel S. Ostling’s set design, from an endless onslaught of flying chairs to a giant ball of yarn, was an unending array of imagination on display. Christine A. Binder’s lighting added drama, ambiance as well as the literal squares of the life-sized chessboard, of which Alice was an unwitting pawn. This highly artistic journey through the looking glass is a thoroughly absorbing quest which titillates all the senses.
A proven delight for all ages, Lookingglass Alice is back, as bold, unique, stunning and delightful as ever. This wild ride, with a solid female protagonist, will inspire, empower and embolden. My recommendation is to journey through the rabbit hole as often as you can. Not exclusively for children, maybe more for the child at heart, this exciting ride keeps getting better with age. Now in its fifth incarnation in twenty years, this Aliceis the stick by which all other Lookingglass productions are measured. It’s no surprise this venue even took its name from the imaginative tale. With Broadway in Chicago currently mounting a jaw-droppingly fantastic production of Six The Musical and the Lookingglass remounting its fabulous Alice, the Windy City stages are set for a summer of girl power and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Lookingglass Alice is now playing at the Lookingglass Theatre through July 31, 2022.