Written by 8:44 pm Laguna beach, Musical, No Square Theatre, Review, Theater, Uncategorized

Alice by Heart @ No Square Theatre in Laguna Beach – Review

pc: Ella Wyatt

Written by Patrick Chavis

Alice by Heart, the musical, is now playing at the “No Square Theatre” in Laguna Beach from March 8 to 17, 2024.

Story:

This is another take on the world of Alice in Wonderland. The musical follows many famous scenarios and characters and uses them to tell another story. Alice by Heart is set in 1941. Alice Spencer (Roni Dvir) is hiding in the chunnel in London after surviving the London Blitz. Her best friend Alfred (Brennan Eckberg) has developed tuberculosis and doesn’t have much time to live. Using her imagination and her favorite story, Alice in Wonderland, Alice struggles to find a plan to save her friend Alfred from dying. This and more in Alice by Heart.  

Let me start by saying this is such a cool concept—a dark and tragic concept, but very cool nonetheless. The playwright uses the psychological and mystical elements of Alice in Wonderland to explore real, tangible issues of grief and trauma. 

The overall story is communicated quite well, especially as we delve more into it. While it’s not altogether invisible, the WW2 aspects take much of a backseat to Wonderland. 

Set Design:

It is helped in some ways by set designer Sammi Wallschlaeger, who creates a chunnel atmosphere using a wall with different pictures and wartime posters to set the scenario, as well as a moving, spinning bunker bed-looking mini stage set in the middle of the production.  

Acting:

Man, when Roni Dvir and Brennan Eckberg were vibing on stage… forget about it. It was electric. Still (Reprise) is a highlight tune in this production, and it is performed beautifully.  

Another highlight: Isn’t It a Trial? This tune was not only performed well by this ensemble but also by the live band that accompanied them. It all worked, and the cherry on top, Diego Huerta-Gutierrez’s (Angus/Caterpillar/Knave of Hearts) vocals in this, made the whole building notice. Gutierrez had a solid voice and presence on that stage.  

Consistency is essential, and it takes a lot of work to achieve. The talent was there, but consistency is more challenging to achieve overall. 

Costume:

The costume work in this production ranged from creative and DIY to more realistic, like the gas masks used in certain moments. It’s a show full of imagination, but also very real-world situations, and while the costumes helped tell the story they rarely elevated it.

Overall:

This isn’t the most polished production of this material, but fans of Alice and Wonderland, with an open mind and patience, can hear and feel moments of greatness from this young cast at the “No Square Theatre” in Laguna.  

Review
7.7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story7.6
Acting7.9
Set & Design8.2
Costumes7.2
Entertainment7.4
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Above Average! March 8 – 17,2024. 

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