A rare treat for theatre fans
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fantastic television performance of the Eva LeGallienne adaptation of Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND, featuring the 1982 Broadway revival staging by director Kirk Browning. Richard Addinsell's lovely score highlights the production with fine performances all around, headed by Kate Burton who gives Alice a sassy, modern sensibility. LeGallienne's version (which premiered in 1933 and was first revived in 1947) throws the stories and characters of "Wonderland" and "Looking Glass" together, creating a veritable kaleidoscope of colour and whimsy.
The cast is truly impressive including - Colleen Dewhurst's manic and imposing Red Queen; the befuddled White Queen of Maureen Stapleton; Nathan Lane plays the waterlogged Mouse as a tango-dancing lothario; Kaye Ballard as the baby-beating Duchess; Geoffrey Holder as a sinuous, seductive Cheshire Cat; and Donald O'Connor as the soft-shoe Mock Turtle.
Perhaps most poignant is Richard Burton, playing the melancholy White Knight. His scene with real-life daughter Kate is very touching, and his performance of the White Knight's bittersweet "A-Sittin' on a Gate", one of the truly great songs in Addinsell's score, is a highpoint of the whole production. The actual story of Alice is bookended by a nervous young actress about to star in her very first leading role. The saga of Alice herself provides a nice counterpoint as Lewis Carroll's heroine also must face her fears if she can ever return home.
Truly a production to savour and a rare treat for all theatre and Lewis Carroll admirers."
It's a bad sign when the sets are better than the actors.
Sarah Hadley | Murfreesboro, Tennessee USA | 02/17/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This particular "Alice" has a long history. It started as a hit play in the early '40s, was resurrected in the late '70s with Kate Burton in the title role, and then ported to Great Performances on PBS - the latter of which is what we have here on DVD. Presumably it worked a little better on stage, and probably a little better in the '40s, too. Sadly, it runs through both "Alice" stories in a breakneck 90 minutes' time, and much of the acting is truly lamentable - some of the actors are so bad, I actually thought that might be an intentional joke, as with Austin Pendleton's monotonistic White Rabbit! Probably the best of them are Donald O'Connor - the only one of the lot who can actually sing! - as the Mock Turtle, Geoffrey Holder as the Cheshire Cat, and Richard Burton as the White Knight. The tea party crew is fairly good as well. The rest...well, the sooner forgotten about, the better.Despite the acting, the sets and costumes are gorgeous - they're mostly made (with the exception of the Cat) to look like Tenniel woodcuts. That makes it quite a visual treat, if nothing else. This isn't the worst "Alice" I've seen, but it's not very high on my list. Still, it has enough good points it's probably worth a rental on a rainy week...just don't expect anything too incredible."
Everyone walked through this abbreviated quasi-musical
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 07/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The play is based on two books by Lewis Carroll "Alice's Adventures Underground" and "Through the Looking-glass." There have been several presentations, each with it own strength or weakness. This is a 1993 TV presentation of which you can see that lots of time and energy went in to it,
We go through the story at light speed only to slow down for a few badly placed songs. This presentation should be an embarrassment to everyone involved. However if you did not know any better a log of Lewis Carroll's humor and way with words comes through. There is a little television trickery that actually helps the presentation.
You would think with such a great cast that it could not fail:
Kate Burton as Alice (at 26 years old)
Austin Pendleton as White Rabbit
Richard Burton as White Knight
James Coco as King of Hearts
Tony Cummings as Knave of Hearts
Alan Weeks as Tweedledee
André De Shields as Tweedledum
Eve Arden as Queen of Hearts
Maureen Stapleton as White Queen
Colleen Dewhurst as Red Queen
Andre Gregory as Mad Hatter
Geoffrey Holder as Cheshire Cat
Zeljko Ivanek as March Hare
Nathan Lane as Mouse
Donald O'Connor as Mock Turtle
Swen Swenson as Gryphon
Fritz Weaver as Caterpillar
Richard Woods as Humpty-Dumpty
Bottom line this presentation takes an effort to get trough.
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