Girl in a Hole, the musical version of Alice in Wonderland, is a ring-tailed roarer, a rollicking, ringing, rabble-rousing, riotous revel. Rah!
I nearly bust a gut, I laughed so loud. But Girl in a Hole is more than mere airy persiflage. It is also a subtle and penetrating exploration, a discerning probing of the dark places of psyche and soul. The ballet sequence in which Alice acts out her desire to axe her mother and annex her father, and the tense scene in which she is forced to reveal the real causes for her fascination with rabbits, are among the most pulse-racing moments in the history of the theatre. The scene, by contrast, where Alice wakes up to see the familiar symbols of reality, the beard, the pipe, and the framed diploma from Vienna, is as heartwarming an affirmation as has ever been presented on the stage. Magnificent--a word not often used in these pages--is the only word to describe the number she sings at this point, I'll Crouch on My Couch, which closes the show on a swelling note of hope.
In the role of Alice, the producers have cast Margery Glench--a bold step, since she is a grandmother, and known to be at least seventy-six. But she has triumphantly made good their gamble. Her forthcoming movie version of Lolita, to be called I Was a Teenage Nymphet, will be eagerly awaited. For Miss Glench is charming. Miss Glench is beautiful. Miss Glench is neatsie-poo. She sings like a nightingale, and she looks like one too, with the neatest little set of tailfeathers you could ever hope to see. Miss Glench, will you live in sin with me?
I could go on for pages, but I have to go write a letter to my fiancee telling her that our marriage can never be, because I love another. But I urge everyone to flock in droves to Girl in a Hole. (I'm going back myself, if I can get the assistant stage manager to let me in free.) Girl in a Hole may be tripe, but nobody can deny it's got guts.