According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Welcome to WONDERLAND. Seatbelt required. Helmet optional.

by Evan Robert Pohl

Get ready for the ride of the season! ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, now playing in a limited run at the OBIE award-winning HERE Arts Center, is a wild new riff on Lewis Carroll’s timeless novel. The conceit of puppeteer Lake Simons and composer John Dyer, this adaptation gives a facelift to the classic nineteenth century novel by blending a variety of keenly applied theatrical tricks sure to leave audiences in awe.

WONDERLAND begins before an unassuming white curtain innocently draped over a thin wire running the length of the theatre. Alice (played with acute precision by Simons) then enters and reads a few lines from Carroll’s novel aloud. It all seems calm—very serene in a Kinkadian sort of way—but like a cherry bud in spring, the curtain parts and the show blossoms into a beautiful riot of music and movement.

Smartly, Simons and Dyer chose to adapt their play directly from Carroll’s novel and opted not to replicate the more famous Disney interpretation, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951). However, this organic manifestation is not without its faults. The production tends to indulge in gags only hardcore fans will understand and leaves Disney-inclined audiences (i.e. the general population) in the dark.

Then again, WONDERLAND’s overwhelming euphoria makes such a critique inconsequential—thanks in large part to helmer Simons. She navigates this pageantry of puppets with deft ability, finding and delighting her audience’s inner child to no end, thereby allowing the whole to become greater than the sum of its parts. So, despite a few potholes and speed bumps, this is one trip worth taking!

HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue, March 29th – April 22nd
For tickets call (212)868-4444 or visit

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