Review by Hannah Stansbury, Ursuline Academy Cappies Critic Team
The cast and crew at Ross High School wonderfully embraced the strange and unusual on their journey to performing their magnificently mad play, "Alice and Wonderland."
The story of "Alice in Wonderland" has been told time and time again and is a family favorite and household classic. The heartwarming tale follows a young girl, Alice, and her journey into the strange, yet magical world of Wonderland. She endures difficult and disorienting experiences as she meets different characters who live in Wonderland that help her begin to believe in herself and her uniqueness.
Overall, both the unity and dedication of the cast and the detailed, involved work of the crew made "Alice in Wonderland" truly spectacular.
Taking on the role of Alice herself was Chyanne Jackson, accompanied on her journey by Joshua Inman portraying the White Rabbit. Chyanne wonderfully portrayed just how much emotion a young girl would feel if she were randomly dropped in a strange world. From her giggles, tantrums, to breakdowns, Chyanne was dedicated, energetic, and nailed the role. Joshua did a phenomenal job portraying the sassy, humorous spirit of the White Rabbit, consistently making small gestures or facials that made the audience roar with laughter.
Both Tweedledee and Tweedledum, played by Carolyn Myers and Lydia-Rose Langdon respectively, were also extremely notable actresses. Throughout the majority of Alice's journey, Tweedledee and Tweedledum were there to guide and support her in the most difficult times with humor and energy. Myers and Langdon were the perfect team, matching each other's energy and tone at all times and were never inconsistent or faulty with their reactions and spirit.
The set and costumes of the production helped tremendously in demonstrating Alice's transformation throughout her journey. The costumes were creatively crafted to begin the show on a mostly black and white scale and slowly transform into a grey, then colorful scale as Alice's life and beliefs became more vibrant as well. The set made a similar transformation, beginning with an almost bare stage, and ending with greenery and many vibrant set pieces and props. Another notable crew element was the efforts made by the marketing and publicity crew. Not only did they advertise the show in Ross High School and the local community, but they held a book drive collecting 1000 books for those in need and had local children participate in a display celebrating individuality.
The students involved in Ross High School's "Alice in Wonderland" put on a truly heartwarming and successful show full of energy and detail, celebrating the dignity and power of the individual.
Review by Corinne Webster, Colerain High School Cappies Critic Team
Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle! In Ross High School's production of "Alice in Wonderland," the audience follows Alice down the rabbit hole where she has tea time, recites poems, and plays the Queen of Hearts in a fun game of Croquet. As she goes on her journey, she learns from her ignorance and discovers she is where she belongs.
"Alice in Wonderland" was originally a novel written in 1865 entitled "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (pseudonym Lewis Carroll), the author, was known for incorporating logic and fantasy into his works. The novel was soon adapted into many movies including versions by Disney and Tim Burton. The play version was adapted by Charlotte Chorpenning.
Alice, played by Chyanne Jackson, is a girl who is just trying to figure herself out like anyone going through middle school. Chyanne maintained an immature attitude that fit the role very well. She would always solely be one emotion and then flip to another one like a light switch. Throughout the story, Alice grows and becomes her own person. Chyanne grew with her and blossomed at the end.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum, played by Carolyn Myers and Lydia-Rose Langdon respectively, were the definition of a dynamic duo. Their vibes were always on the same wavelength and never missed a beat. The mood swings such as excited to sassy were funny and always got some laughs throughout the theater. The duo shaped Alice's confidence, basically being her coaches on the sideline, cheering her on. Dormouse, played by Lake Scalf, was the highlight of the night. Even though his role was small, his presence filled the room. The best moment of the night was the Tea Party where he would vigorously shake the teapot as he nonchalantly screamed, "twinkle twinkle!" Lake's performance was HILARIOUS and iconic.
Any production wouldn't be possible without the wonderful crew. In the beginning, the set was black and white, representing Alice's personality. As she grew as a person, the prop's color scheme grew with her. The costumes were unique and fit the theme properly. Tweedledee and Tweedledum's costumes connected them, showing they are an unbreakable bond. Alice's changed right after intermission from a black and white dress to the classic blue and white dress, showing her growth as a person. A creative addition to the production was the ukulele player, Abbie Webster. The music she wrote fit the aesthetic of the play and really helped with transitions.
"Alice in Wonderland" was a unique show to watch and was entertaining. The play answered the question of who a person truly is and allows the audience to experience the development of a character. People can change for the good, and this was a perfect example.
Review by Caitlin Boutwell, Ursuline Academy Cappies Critic Team
Whimsical, wacky, and wonderful. Those are three words typically associated with "Alice in Wonderland," but seeing past the looking glass gives insight into a story about confidence and self-growth. Ross High School's "Alice in Wonderland" captured the story about how a beloved young girl arrives in Wonderland and learns to find courage within herself.
Best remembered by Disney's animation or Tim Burton's live-action film, "Alice in Wonderland" traces the journey of a young protagonist, Alice, as she enters into Wonderland and meets the wild creatures which include the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, and the March Hare, just to name a few.
Ross's RAM Theatre Project's production of "Alice in Wonderland" moved past the bright costumes and colorful characters to reveal themes that extended far beyond the rabbit hole.
The cast was anchored by the titular character, Alice, played by Chyanne Jackson. Her portrayal embodied the childish antics of her character. As the play progressed, Jackson's acting changed with the development and increased confidence of Alice. This is best shown when the trial occurs as Alice now feels empowered to stand up to the King of Hearts. Another leading character was the White Rabbit, played by Joshua Inman. Inman concentrated on the eccentric behavior of the rabbit shown through his dramatic expressions and the assistance of a small black fan. He produced an extensive number of laughs when interacting with the axe and chasing the Dormouse off stage.
Other notable cast members include the iconic duo of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, played by Carolyn Myers and Lydia-Rose Langdon. The two actresses entertained many through their retelling of "The Walrus and the Carpenter" which involved laughing, gasping, and even crying. The Mad Hatter, played by Annie Turco, perfectly acted out the wackiness of her character. Turco's back-bending antics and joyful laugh proved for a perfect association between the actress and the character. The Dormouse (Lake Scalf) thrilled many with his comedic timing of "Twinkle, Twinkle." However, the cast was stronger together than apart. The entire ensemble helped to boost the confidence of Alice, propelling the plot, yet were drastically different and left distinct, memorable impressions of others.
Technical elements amplified the theme of confidence throughout the show. Costumes, made by Lily Welsh and Sophia Lunsford, and sets, designed by Julia Antoine and crew, collaborated to identify color as an important device for the play. Alice's dresses change distinctly between acts, displaying her confidence level changing. The Wonderland characters' costumes do not change drastically, although, representing their constant self- confidence. The set also changes between the acts, growing more colorful as pink, blue and green flowers descend from the fly system. The show begins and ends with Alice stepping through a frame; however, the beginning frame purely consists of black and white, while the second is livelier because of Alice's blue dress.
Ross High School's "Alice in Wonderland" utilized an energetic cast and inventive crew to push boundaries and focus not only on the kooky tone of the original story, but the development of self-confidence that Alice, and every child, experiences.
Excerpts from Top Reviews
“The show drew its energy from a variety of talent as well. Joshua Inman's sassy White Rabbit provided a fresh take on the role with his expressive fan flips and cheeky demeanor. Connor Burcham's King of Hearts brought nobility and personality to the traditionally subdued character. Carolyn Myers as Tweedledee and Lydia Rose Langdon as Tweedledum shined in their roles with synchronized movement and mannerisms.”
-Mary Defoor, School for Creative & Performing Arts
“The sets and costumes were the main technical highlights of the show. In the first act, the sets and costumes reflected each other in that they were both in grayscale tones to symbolize that Alice still felt very afraid and timid. In the second act, more color was added to the minimalistic set with the addition of roses, and the characters' costumes also got more vibrant to show that Alice was growing more sure of herself. A particularly stellar costume moment was having Alice in a black dress with only a blue bow in Act One and then making her entire dress blue in Act Two.”
-Emma Erion, Mercy McAuley High School
“Other primary sources of comedy included the Mock Turtle, played by Ryan Felix, and the Dormouse, who was brought to life by Lake Scalf. Every time Felix stepped onto the stage, laughter was sure to follow. Also, Scalf's iconic repetition of, "twinkle, twinkle, twinkle," was charming throughout the performance. Most certainly not to be missed in the production was Connor Burcham, who played the King of Hearts. Burcham's comedy shone through his body language which evoked plenty of laughter as he played a key role in the second act.”
-Lizzy Schutte, Mercy McAuley High School
“A notable addition to the production was Abbie Webster. She played the ukulele during different parts of the production, most of which were originals. It created a nice atmosphere and demonstrated much talent.”
-Mattie Flynn, Mercy McAuley High School
“Alongside the leads, Tweedledee and Tweedledum greeted Alice (and the audience) with the proper handshake as they whirled her into the land of storytelling and poetry. As perfect mirror images of each other, this dynamic duo pulled off the nonsense of their characters without a hitch! Using silly mannerisms and a package-deal dynamic to dominate the stage, these two supported Alice perfectly along her journey of self-discovery, with a few laughs along the way.”
-Mehryn Toole, Highlands High School
“Technically, the show really shined. As the character of Alice grew, the set changed. The show started with a plain, mainly black and white set, but as Alice became more confident and surer of herself, the set became more vibrant and full of color.”
-Alex Bertucci, Campbell County High School
“Chyanne Jackson, the spitting image of jubilant, naive Alice, illustrated absolute preparation for the unique challenges introduced by her role. The steady progression and development of Alice's character in the story demanded a level of nuance and understanding that Jackson gripped with full force.”
-Juli Russ, Highlands High School
About The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati
The Critics and Awards Program strives to recognize Greater Cincinnati’s talented community of young writers, performers, and technical crews. High school theatre and journalism students who participate in the Cappies program are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, and write and publish reviews. At the end of the school year, the student critics vote to give awards to their fellow students for outstanding productions, group and individual performances, and achievements in technical categories. Awards are presented at the annual Cappies Gala. Find more reviews at CinciCap.com/reviews.