As with Lewis Carroll’s original, Oklahoma Baptist University’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is a chaotic collage of impressions, experiences and amazements, perfectly suited for young audiences who are willing to careen from one implausible conundrum to the next just enjoying the roller-coaster ride.
McKenzie Reece’s Alice is unflagging in her wonderment and her spirit as, like every child, she is tempted to try new things but determined to make some sense of her predicament. She is sassy, stubborn and indomitable – all the more admirable because of the mad parade of creatures she encounters.
Led, of course, the White Rabbit, played by a scurrying Bayleigh Platter with urgency, who remains charming and cute behind her rose-colored glasses and floppy ears. Caleb Frank also is enchanting as the infuriatingly dissonant Mad Hatter. He skates close to lucidity only to ricochet astray.
The entire cast is a madcap mélange of outrageous anthropomorphism. The first appearance of a flock of sundry birds is most impressive as Anna Smollen, Gage Bullard, Garrett Wheeler, Adam McCullough, Ashley Hontz and Frank cluck, coo and twitter us into Wonderland.
Wonderland has minimal, but appropriate, set dressing. Costumes and characterization paint a vivid, fantastical world with a swimming mouse and Cheshire Cat, the elastic Court Haygarth; a daffy duchess with a voluminous fashion sense, Anna Smollen, and a credibly terrifying Queen of Hearts, Ashley Hontz, resplendent in red, and who also plays a cute dodo.
Anna Tyler also morphs from slinky Caterpillar to a stiffly toddling Five of Hearts and others. Shawnee fifth-grader Jorgen Caron appears as a member of a new generation journeying to Wonderland.
This Wonderland, directed by Matthew Caron, features new music by James Vernon, and is backed by a proficient technical crew, including Brianna Lincoln, Grant McGee, Jake Yenish, Christopher Harris, Kimberlie McCutcheon, Jessica Fullerton, Joshua Brunet, Larashleigh Wallace, Chase Hendrickson, Alyssa Couturier, Kelsi Gulerserian, Rachel Campbell, Erin Loyd, Emma Greathouse, Augie Mathews, Ethan Wood, Emili Ramos, Zach Hill, Lillias McManus, Kendra Johnson and members of the cast.
In addition to shows for school groups, public performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Craig-Dorland Theater in Shawnee Hall. Tickets are $2 for children 12 and younger, $5 students, and $12 adults.
The shows are nearly sold out, so call the box office 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (405) 585-4350 or see okbu.edu/theatre.