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Kudzu Children's Theater1
Average Rating Given : 1.00000
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REVIEWS

Alice in Wonderland, by
A riddle with little focus
Monday, July 12, 2004
1.0
Midway through Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass", the title character cheerily tells Humpty Dumpty, who is sitting on a Dumpster, "It seems to fill my head with ideas, but I don't know what they are."

I second that thought throughout Kudzu's poorly constructed children’s production of "Alice in Wonderland", there is an embedded confession about this simultaneously inspiring and frustrating staging that goes everywhere and nowhere at once.

Director Jason Meinhardt's riddling take on Carroll's classic adventure story is filled with dreamy inventiveness yet awkward stagecraft. Meinhardt attempts to utilize stage tricks and a facile play on language to take us, indeed cleverly, into a richly colored wonderland.

But this production is so stuffed with creative ideas that it lacks focus or even clear direction. It's difficult to know what to make of a jerky staging that leans heavily on stage tricks to the detriment of good storytelling.

Even worse, "Alice" suffers from a poor ensemble with little talent or conviction. Certainly there are more talented kids in Atlanta that this listless, quiet and meek list than those who performed before me this weekend.

Okay, yes. I'll admit "Alice" is packed with flashes of the theatrical genius that has made Meinhardt an important figure at Kudzu over the past few years. But, alas, the production does not breathe well, rushing -- no, panting -- from one wowing moment to the next. When it suddenly ends, it feels like a crash, rather than an awakening from a Wonderland dream.

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