Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome to Wonderland.

This last summer, I wrote a post about the SBDance performance, Drosselmeyer, Inc. After that review, SBDance founder Stephen Brown contacted me to ask if he could give my contact information to Jerry Rapier, the producing director for Plan B Theatre. I agreed and soon received an e-mail from Mr. Rapier saying he’d read my post and wanted to know if he could add me to his press list. Since almost no one takes my blog seriously (in fact is any body even reading this), I was flattered by the request. That means I intend to attend as many Plan B performances as possible and to write about every single one.
That said, I have to admit that Plan B has visited the pages of Viva Variety before. About a year ago, I wrote about Radio Hour Frankenstein. So it’s fitting that a year later, I’ve returned to the Rose Wagner for this year’s Radio Hour, Alice—an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. This was a lot of story to cram into 60 minutes. Because of that, some moments in the show were confusing and hard to follow. But I’m not sure what I would have cut. It’s hard to present a version of Alice in Wonderland without all those classic characters like the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the Chesire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Caterpillar. That’s a lot of character to develop in 60 minutes.
On the flip side there was a lot of good. The story really got going with the arrival of the Queen of Cups. You forget how truly scary this story is. And the Queen of Cups brings on the horror. I loved the way the story built to demands for beheading just about everyone. And Mathew Ivan Bennett’s adaptation ended big, with chilling effect.
All the performers are to be commended but I’ll call out two in particular. David Evanoff’s music is fantastic. If you were to listen to this show on the radio, you’d swear there was a whole band of musicians performing the soundtrack. Sure Evanoff is using a lot of computers, but he’s still working hard. And it’s fun to see him perform live.
Even more fun than Evanoff’s performance is that of Foley artist Daisy Blake. The sound effects make the story more exciting, but watching how it’s done is well worth the price of admission. And sound engineers Mark and Eric Robinette get big kudos for the brilliant audio.
I’ve heard a rumor that this may be the last Radio Hour from Plan B. If it is, that will make me sad. All the more reason to see this show live. It runs through October 31. At the very least, you can hear it broadcast live on KUER (90.1) on October 30 at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

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