The Story of Alice Review - Wonderland Never Looked so Good

In the latest reboot of the ever-popular “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice has been transformed into a pouty contemporary teenager who chases a strange white rabbit down his hole trying to return his umbrella - all the while clutching her iPhone. The music is new and bouncy, thanks to Michael Cormier (book and lyrics) and Scott Hiltzik (music).


Pretty much everyone alive must be aware of the general plot line in this classic story. Bored teenager Alice (Jessamyn Arnstein) chases a rabbit (Justin W. Yu) down a rabbit hole - and finds herself in a different and fantastic world where animals speak and the Queen of Hearts (Emily King Brown) seems stuck with shouting “Off with their heads!” when things get too quiet.


In this version, a love story is woven into the fabric about a pretty young turtle (Jolie Adamson) and her human lover (Bradley Cashman), who steals one of the queen’s tarts for his sweetheart. But don’t worry. A tea party eventually surfaces just before his trial in the queen’s court.


The denizens of this Wonderland aren’t happy with the queen, a blazing red and screechy-voiced harpy that the audience can’t relate to either. Clever ditties are provided by Tweedle Dum (Nikki D’Amico), the King (Nic Hodges), and the Commander (Liam Roberts) who literally has two loyal retainers pinned to his shoulders. While throughout, the Cheshire Cat (Santino Tomasetti) keep a running commentary in case you’re getting confused. But don’t worry. It all works out in the end. And don’t forget the final words in a story like this: “Happily ever after.”


This is definitely a PG production which is suitable for even the youngest child. Mylette Nora’s costumes are show-stopping, and Gary Lee Reed’s direction is crisp. Casting is cleverly done to enhance the whimsical quality of the characters; and the talented actor’s voices soar in happy song as they dance with abandon. So what’s the catch? Lacking Lewis Carroll’s subtle undertone of satire and tongue-in-cheek humor, THE STORY OF ALICE is bland but cute. Bring the kids to this production and watch them react with awe to a great fairy tale.


Nic Hodges, Justin W. Yu, Emily Barnett, and Jessamyn Arnstein at the Opening Night Reception - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

THE STORY OF ALICE runs through May 29, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. THE STORY OF ALICE is a guest production at the Matrix Theater, located at 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $30. For reservations, go online at

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