Lookingglass Alice | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lookingglass Alice 

David Catlin's acrobatic new adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is as chaotic as its sources. Or maybe there is an underlying logic: Catlin seems to ask whether Alice should grow up or not, and if so, how. The answer is far from obvious. The tragedy is that none of us has any choice in the matter. The show's tone is far from tragic, however--in fact it's brilliant at being dumb and making kids and adults alike laugh. Few props arrive onstage without a bang, the circus tricks are expertly done, and Catlin's script--which includes Carroll's riddling, wordplay, poetry, and philosophical conundrums--works well when it's intertwined with movement. In one memorable bit of physical comedy, the White Knight clambers all over Alice while delivering microscopically detailed instructions on how to climb over a gate. Lauren Hirte does yeoman's work as Alice, and Lawrence E. DiStasi plays the pivotal role of the White Knight with equal parts primness and comic abandon. Despite an ending that's too long by half, Lookingglass Alice is a fine work in the Chicago tradition of physical theater, both intricate and messy, cerebral and freewheeling. Through 3/27: Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Wed 3/9, 3 and 7:30 PM. Sat 3/19 and 3/26, 3 and 8 PM. Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665. $10-$58.

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