Alice in Wonderland

At Radcliffe's Agassiz Theatre

Given Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to start with, it would be hard to go wrong, and the Children's Theatre production of Mario Siletti's adaptation does not. With Barbara Bisco in the lead backed by an energetic cast, jolly costuming, and a musical score by Charles Gross, the show provides an hour of bright relaxation in the middle of the February slush.

Miss Bisco, as an extremely winning Alice, speaks her lines more clearly than most of the cast, who occasionally bellow or slur Carroll's wit right out of the range of their three-to-ten-year-old audience. But thanks to Thomas Whedon's direction, even when dialogue and lyrics fail to overcome the steady mutter of the junior critics, the pantomime and by-play are sufficient to keep them entertained.

Mugging, singing, dancing, and dialogue blend most charmingly when Richard Smithies and William Bridges as the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle give Alice a demonstration of the Lobster Quadrille and describe their childhood in the school under the sea. Next in order of charm is the scene between Alice and Humpty-Dumpty, played by Colgate Salisbury.

Clare Scott as the Red Queen, Lee Jeffries as the White Queen, and Timothy Cogan as the Mad Hatter give their parts true Carrollian personalities, although Cogan is too often difficult to understand. All the other characters add ably to the total merriment, and when Alice asks at the end, "Wasn't it a wonderful dream?" even the jaded will be liable to agree.