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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