Alice Closing (Theater and Galleries) Free The Short List (Theater)

When: Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 10 2014

Michael Monteiro Wise's free-wheeling adaptation of Lewis Carroll's unhinged 1865 children's tale transforms Alice from an idle Victorian preteen to a contemporary American young woman bewildered by urban chaos on her first day in Chicago. It's a strained premise, but Nothing Without a Company's decision to stage the piece as an escapade running through the park is inspired, as characters—both human and puppet—appear in the most unexpected places. But while director Anna Rose li-Epstein honors the irrational and nonlinear aspects of Carroll's writing, she disregards its hallucinogenic clarity, leaving her cast to flail through 75 minutes of largely indiscriminate, impersonal, bellicose lunacy. Taylor Dariarow's fuzzily defined Alice has little personality beyond excessive exuberance, and it's never clear why any of us should follow her. —Justin Hayford

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