Chicago Theater Review: ALICE (Upended Productions)

Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ALICE (Upended Productions)

by Erika Mikkalo on October 9, 2014

in Theater-Chicago


Phil Ridarelli in Upended Productions' ALICE. Photo by Johnny Knight.Fall down the rabbit hole of the thoughtfully absurd Alice, written and directed by Noelle Krimm. This performance—a reprise of the popular 2004 staging—showcases work by multiple companies as well as individual artists. Loose interpretations of Alice in Wonderland’s twelve chapters are executed in local businesses, alleys, and street corners. Upon arriving at the Neo-Futurarium, we all are renamed “Alice.” Each group is led forth on its individual adventure by one of five White Rabbits. Our troupe was guided by the impeccably droll John Gregorio as the French Bunny, sporting both bunny ears affixed to a black beret and an accent. First, there are stops in “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” antechambers, which then open into a room filled with pollster Dodos, and then the journey through the wonderland of Andersonville begins.

Corrbette Pasko, Josh Zagoren, and Dina Walters in Upended Productions' ALICE. Photo by Johnny Knight.Alice offers alternate moments of philosophy and amusement, but several vignettes particularly shine. David Kodeski’s bookish raconteurism is well-framed by the oddments store Woolly Mammoth. He also provides the useful reminder that no one really wants to hear your dreams, no matter how consistently you appear naked.

Clifton Frei of The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre offers a quiet meditation on vulnerability that builds to a festive climax; Logan Kibens offers a dream-like short film that effectively delivers the coherent bewilderment of the novel; and Giorgio shares an engaging folktale about an ultimate trickster rabbit. Interactions range from tea parties to timely considerations of who is told “Off with their heads!” and by whom.

Throughout the whimsical and comic episodes, there are consistent reminders of the subjective nature of reality, a medicine that goes down easily, delivered as it is with a bit of sugar—not pepper—and a wry touch. Attend Alice with an open spirit and light heart, or arrive as a grump and a cynic and leave with a smile and a less-heavy step nonetheless.

Josh Zagoren and Dina Walters in Upended Productions' ALICE. Photo by Johnny Knight.

photos by Johnny Knight

Upended Productions
performances begin at Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland
Sat and Sun at 1:00, leaving every 15 minutes until 2:00
scheduled to end on November 2, 2014
for tickets, visit
for more info, call 773-817-3956 or visit

for info on this and other Chicago Theater, visit

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bilal Dardai October 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Thank you for attending and reviewing ALICE. I’m honor-bound to tell you that I’m not the director of this show, merely of one of its parts (chapters 2 and 3), and that credit is primarily due to curator/creator Noelle Krimm.


Tony Frankel, Editor-in-Chief October 10, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Thanks, Bilal – it was a bit confusing for our writer since you directed a chapter she referenced.


Leave a Comment