Play takes audiences to musical “Wonderland”

On Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25, student theater organization Deep End APO performed “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland,” a creative take on British pantomime theater, in Rolvaag Memorial Library 525.

What is British pantomime? It’s a type of musical comedy theater that combines a traditional folktale – in this case, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” – and topical humor, songs, slapstick comedy and gender-crossing actors. It also requires participation from the audience, who were asked to sing along and help Alice find her way through wonderland.

I was perhaps not the most well-equipped reviewer to take on this assignment for a couple of reasons: first, nothing makes me more anxious about a performance than the promise that it will be interactive, and second, slapstick comedy really isn’t my jam. But despite those handicaps, I still thoroughly enjoyed the show.

At times, the cast waded into improv territory, which on the whole appeared as though the performers were trying too hard to be random and quirky. But those moments also gave way to some great, quiet one-liners within the chatter on stage, such as when Hawken Paul ’20 lamented that the number on his race bib didn’t exist (√–1) or when Luke Hering ’21 tried to convince the cast that he was wetter than everyone else.

The performance dubbed a number of pop songs, including Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” “Raise Your Glass” by P!nk, the Halloween smash hit “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett and The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Audience members were given lyrics sheets so that we could sing along with the chorus, and for a moment I was taken back to the sixth grade, when I sang in choir and the same group of kids would request that we sing “Stairway to Heaven” for every free choice song Friday … anyway.

My favorite musical dub was Adele’s “Hello,” which Emilie Hapgood ’21, playing a caterpillar, sang dressed in a pillowy sleeping bag and dark sunglasses. The whole scene was hilarious, and made even better when she turned into a buttefly for the key change.

70 people attended the Friday night performance, so Deep End added an extra showtime at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night. Fellow audience member and Deep End APO Artistic Director Chaz Mayo ’18 informed me that this kind of demand was atypical of the organization’s productions; usually, there’s only 30 or 40 people per show.


Header Image: Hadley Nash ’21 and Claire Correll ’21 make music and jokes in “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland.”