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‘Lobster Alice’ at Flying V

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Oh Frabjous Day!! I must say, the toves were slithy! And gyring and gimballing were happening all over the stage! And, this take on the creation of Alice in Wonderland really lived up to its promise. The surrealism of the piece could easily have torn the work from reality, but its firm grounding in the cementing of the artistic process kept its spirit alive, while binding it into a usable form. Flying V’s Lobster Alice is a show that will leave you joyful without letting you know why you’re happy. This was an accomplishment.

Zachary Fernebok and Daniel Corey. Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

Zachary Fernebok and Daniel Corey. Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

Let’s talk production. I can’t call out anyone specific because this was such a team effort so to everyone who helped on the tech side of the show (Jenna Berk, Andrew Berry, Chelsea Cranshaw, Deb Crerie, Nelly Diaz, Aaron Fensterheim, Mary Cat Gill, Allie Heiman, Taylor Lee Hitaffer, Vaughn M. Irving, Neil McFadden, Joseph Musumeci, Keta R Newborn, Kay Rzasa, Jonathan Rubin, Jason Heat Schlafstein, Tia Shearer Bassett, Deb Sivigny, Ari Srabstein, Kristin A. Thompson, Cody Whitfield), Thank you!!

The world developed as we watched. Hidden doors appeared out of walls. Trapdoors appeared out of the floor. Mundane objects turned into portals for spirits, stories, and wild imaginings to traipse into our world. The stage grew from tidy and conservative to wild and unkempt as a multitude of objects d’art appeared and multiplied as if every time we blinked another torrid affair ended with the birth of a child of the whimsical physical.The sound and the lights were evolving and shifting our ideas of the real and the unreal, helping to move us forward into the mind of a genius (a dangerous place, to be sure). Rarely have I seen such a melding of technical aspects. Bravo!

The cast was unimpeachable, as well. Ryan Alan Jones’ characters were all the fleeting temptations we have viscerally, emotionally, and mentally. His job was to be beautiful and he was that, indeed.

Daniel Corey (Finch) is that pane of glass that separated reality of this show from its own dream. I imagine that he could have been made to shatter, but instead, he simply had his fundamental ideas of the world removed. It was like watching someone take out a bone without breaking the skin and then watching him hobble for a time, until you took out another bone, because the hobbling wasn’t quite right. Corey didn’t break, he was taken apart and left to survive the trial of the world as he was remade.

Jenny Donovan (Alice), precise and intelligent, and looking for something “interesting” finds that the glamour of the artistic life fades very quickly. She gets everything she wanted and when the time comes for reality to sweep back in like a broom knocking your ankles out from under you, she is faced with a fundamental truth: To get what you want is to get what you once wanted. Her transformations are a joy to watch.

Jenny Donovan (Alice) and Zachary Fernebok (Salavador Dali). Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

Jenny Donovan (Alice) and Zachary Fernebok (Salavador Dali). Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

Zachary Fernebach (Salvador Dali), was a reality shattering whirlwind. Like his character’s works, trying to describe it would melt time itself. Powerful and sly, he slowly robbed the stage of its connection to what we know and dragged it into the world of what we feel.

And let me say that none of this would have been possible without an amazing director to pull it all together. This is the type of show that could fall apart so fast that we would all be trapped in the rubble. Amber Jackson created an intricate network of support beams using actors and techies that allowed a supple and powerful show the room it needed to grow without allowing it to become an amorphous mess. Her skill is without question. ‘

5 claws for Lobster Alice!!!!! Callou! Callay!

Running Time: Two hours with one intermission.

Lobster Alice plays through October 12, 2014 at Flying V Theatre Company, performing at The Writer’s Center – 4508 Walsh Street, in Bethesda, MD. For tickets, purchase them online.

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