Theater archives

Down the rabbit hole with a salaciously unsatisfying twist


What if you made a porno and nobody came? What if you included all the formal requirements of the early-’80s stag picture—hot girls, hirsute guys, appalling puns, risible acting, nonsensical plot, synthesizer music—and excised the raison d’être, actual sex? You’d have writer-director William Osco’s excruciating Alice in Wonderland, an inexplicit yet unrelentingly icky transposition of his 1977 flick to the Off-Broadway stage.

After an announcement asking cell phones to be quieted and the first two rows to refrain from masturbation, the houselights dim and three scantily clad girls labor unproductively at high kicks and wriggles as Jefferson Airplane sings “White Rabbit.” Though one pill may make you larger and one may make you small, the girls give every thrusting indication that it’s the blue pill, Viagra, inspiring this performance. Trailer-trash chippie Alice (Danielle Stephens) resists the urgings of her cholo boyfriend, Hector, and the scoldings of her closed-minded mother. Fart jokes abound. Eventually, Alice falls asleep on a deck chair while reading a version of Alice (a pop-up book, natch) and finds herself transported to the polymorphously perverse Wonderland.

Having treated the audience to a quick glimpse of full-frontal nudity, she dons a powder-blue peignoir and enjoys inexpertly mimed manual and oral copulation with the Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and Cheshire Cat (“Call me Pussy”). She also enjoys singing. Sample lyric: “Head! Give her some head!/Give her some royal head!/The sentence is—to give her head!” Ah, wordplay. If the show fails to either titillate or entertain, it may have a future as an educational aid. Abstinence-only sex educators should consider a class field trip. If this play is a turn-on, celibacy has never seemed like such a fine idea.