Meryl Streep Shrooms Her Way Through Modern Alice in Wonderland

Beware the Jub­jub bird…

Beware post-70s the­atri­cal exper­i­men­ta­tion…

Beware a chil­dren’s clas­sic — Alice in Won­der­land, in a mod­ern musi­cal update …

Beware a grown woman cast as a lit­tle girl…

On the oth­er hand, what if we’re talk­ing about Meryl Streep? Specif­i­cal­ly the Deer Hunter / Kramer vs. Kramer-era Streep, star­ring in Alice in Con­certplay­wright Eliz­a­beth Swa­dos and direc­tor Joe Pap­p’s 1981 adap­ta­tion of Lewis Car­rol­l’s orig­i­nal trip­py tale. If Alice at the Palace, a slight­ly restaged for tele­vi­sion ver­sion, is any evi­dence, Amer­i­ca’s Most Seri­ous Actress had a blast, bound­ing around in bag­gy over­alls, doing every­thing in her con­sid­er­able pow­er to upend the pris­sy pinafore-sport­ing Dis­ney stan­dard. She jigged. She pout­ed. She slew the Jab­ber­wock and almost imme­di­ate­ly regret­ted it.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, giv­en the con­text, she also got to play stoned. Her spacey mean­der­ings ush­ered in the most fan­tas­ti­cal­ly para­noid inter­pre­ta­tion of the Jab­ber­wocky you’re ever like­ly to hear, cour­tesy of a sup­port­ing ensem­ble that includ­ed Mark Linn-Bak­er and the late Michael Jeter. Sud­den­ly, that which has long proved mad­den­ing starts to make sense.

It’s  a feat all around.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pho­to: The Real Alice in Won­der­land Cir­ca 1862

Alice in Won­der­land: The 1903 Orig­i­nal Film

Lewis Car­rol­l’s Alice in Won­der­land avail­able in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks col­lec­tions.

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