Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Lost in the Bunny Hole

What happens when you take inspiration from the characters from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and throw them in a world so unfamiliar to them that their own identity gets confused? Alice and the Bunny Hole. Alex DeFazio has derived a world where Alice gets lost in a club, appropriately called the Bunny Hole, obsessed with sex in order to do research on, sex. After drunkenly answering an ad online for couple swinging, Alice and her boyfriend Bobby discover their partners are not the couple they had desired. Jerome and Kelly are not a boy and a girl but instead TwinkiDee and TwinkiDum, a couple with their own issues. As the journey continues, each character, with the exception of the sleeping DJ, has a sexual awakening in one form or another.
The interesting thing about this piece is that the characters and situations could potentially exist without the aide of known references. “Wonderland” serves more as a gimmick than a necessary device. The story of a woman struggling with her relationship, and sex life, who seeks refuge from another who’s been and seen it all, could very live on its own. While the allusions to the source material are occasionally clever, they do very little to inform an adaptation of Carroll’s story.
DeFazio and Jody P. Person, who doubles as the lovelorn The Man with the Tiny Hat, both put on the co-director hat, a role that potentially should have been served by an outside third party. DeFazio and Person both have their hands filled with other duties making the direction suffer at times. The ensemble cast do their best to exist in this world without looking as lost as their characters. Michelle Wood’s Alice is the standout of the company, finding true moments of sincerity and heart. This may be because her character is the most fleshed out. This Alice shares the naivety that Carroll’s Alice had, constantly worrying that she’s shrinking. Dan Johnson and Patrick Martin, both young actors, fit their parts as the twinks. With a little more guidance and direction though, their storyline could have been more interesting to watch. The set is multifunctional and sleek. It’s just not designed for cohesive movement during transitions. The wonder of wheels could have sped up the dragging scene changes.
Elixir Productions, the producing company, has a mission statement stating they develop plays and performances about gender, sexuality, and the impact of sexual identity on society, human relationships, and the self. Alice and the Bunnyhole definitely fits into their mission, but an interesting experiment would be to rid the play of “Wonderland” and see if the play serves the same purpose.