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Review: 'Alice in Wonderland' an intro to live drama for kids

For me, anything that lightens up "Alice in Wonderland's" adventures is a boon. And the Kevin Reese musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's work, currently being produced by Renegade Children's Theatre, does just that.

For me, anything that lightens up "Alice in Wonderland's" adventures is a boon. And the Kevin Reese musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's work, currently being produced by Renegade Children's Theatre, does just that.
This is a girl's tale of triumph. Ten-year-old Alice, played well by Cory Lathrop, seems to umpire much of the shenanigans. Last Sunday's show was sold out, so I was lucky to find a place on the floor where about half the audience was seated. The intimate little theater, with kids almost sitting onstage, makes it next to impossible not to be engaged. For 45 minutes, small children and their parents cheered, giggled and pondered.
They took to White Rabbit, played by bounding, twitching Dylan Tusher, and found the slapstick between Alice and Rabbit hilarious. When Caterpillar gave a chart talk on how to rhyme, the youngsters were obviously delighted that Alice could out-rhyme him.
The Mad Hatter's party caused adults to chuckle, with "It's Time for Tea Time Tea" the best of the songs in the show. The physical antics and fun voice of the Mad Hatter, Abe Curran, were very appealing. However, the little ones found the mad party less funny, as they seriously ogled rabbit, dormouse and hatter refusing Alice something to drink.
Stacey Matson's Queen of Hearts seemed distant from her own fray. Even in asking for others' heads, you fortunately didn't quite believe her. Five-year-old Gabriel Lisa Hegstrom was drawn from the audience to ably play an at-trial Knave of Hearts. Luckily, the Queen let Gabriel go because "the sentence never has been carried out."
Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" was a book I picked up numerous times as a child but never finished it. I never did find out if Alice got back from the rabbit hole. Now I know she did.
In the Renegade Comedy Theatre lobby, local bookseller Tales to Tell offers a dozen or so versions of Alice's story.
If you want to introduce your little one to live drama, the intimate setting of Renegade Children's Theatre, 404 W. Superior St., is a great place to start. "Alice in Wonderland" plays Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. through Feb. 4. Tickets are $5 for kids 12 and under and $7 for the rest of us. Call 722-6775 for reservations.

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