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Project: Wonderland 

Thursday, Jan 21 2010
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The Rev. Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, opens Robert A. Prior’s play by defending his friendship with 11-year-old Alice Liddell before taking major hits off a hookah. (A professor, Michael Bonnabel, scribbling the mathematical formula for Wonderland, leaves that substance out of his equation.) Thus, um, inspired, Carroll (Lon Haber) dons a blond wig and reveals himself as Alice before plunging down the rabbit hole. Apart from the entrance of five other Alices chanting Carroll’s lines like a Greek chorus, Wonderland is familiar turf — a trip though our childhood memories of the text and the Disney cult cartoon laced with Jefferson Airplane and melodramatic music but otherwise played straight. The stars here are Teresa Shea’s costumes and sets and Lynn Jeffries’ puppets, a whirlwind of giant lobster claws and waves of parachute silk and 15-foot flower hats and packs of angry cards buzzing about the stage. Amidst the chaos, standouts include Bonnabel’s Caterpillar, Jabez Zuniga’s Queen of Hearts, Matthew Patrick Davis’ Mad Hatter, Lori Scarlett’s Mock Turtle — hell, pretty much everyone navigating this manic, uncertain, but enthusiastic staging. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through January 31. (213) 389-3856.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 15. Continues through Jan. 31, 2010
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Reach the writer at anicholson@laweekly.com

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