In February, Olympia Family Theater will offer an all-youth production of the kid-lit classic "Alice in Wonderland."
This Saturday night at the Capitol Theater, there’ll be a completely different version of “Alice” – and it’s definitely not for the storybook set.
“Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland” is a Seattle-based production with a completely different angle on the Lewis Carroll classic.
“ ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is really accessible to people,” said Lily Verlaine, who is co-producing the event with Jasper McCann. “It’s been done so many times. It’s so present in the culture in the cartoon version.
“The book is so deep and weird and bizarre that it lends itself to an adult audience.”
Asked whether the story follows the book’s plot, she was amused.
“The thing about the book is there is no plot,” said Verlaine, whose legal name is Rachel Gourd. “It’s a series of random incidents. There’s not much of an arc. Alice just has these absurd encounters.”
“The plot is ambling and meandering,” McCann added.
The show, which debuted last year in Seattle, is set in a nightclub that exists (where else?) through the looking glass.
“Alice goes through the mirror and she ends up in a nightclub,” said McCann, whose legal name is Jeffrey McIlvain. “She starts in the kitchen.”
Within the show are club acts and set pieces about Alice’s adventures with the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, March Hare – and the other Alice.
“There are two Alices,” McCann said. “One is the real-world Alice, and the other one is the reflected Alice. They are opposite poles of the same character.”
Verlaine plays the caterpillar (with help from other dancers). “We all create the caterpillar together, and I come out of it and do this classic bump and grind with a massive white boa,” she said.
The caterpillar also transforms into a glamorous butterfly.
McCann, meanwhile, is the White Rabbit, the guide to the events. “I interact with the audience and interact with the Alices and with our waitresses, Eat Me and Drink Me,” he said.
Also featured in the show are Miss Indigo Blue, Lou Henry Hoover, Inga Ingénue and Waxie Moon, all of whom have previously performed at the Capitol Theater during such events as the Sex Workers’ Art Show.
While this is the producers’ first time bringing a show to Olympia, it’s not their first full production together. “Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker” has become a favorite in Seattle, where this year marks its fifth holiday season.
That said, Seattle Times critic Michael Upchurch liked “Alice” even better.
“ ‘Alice’ offers wittier routines, smarter dancing and a marginal downplay of the nudity factor that suggests that less is more when it’s delivered with this much sass,” he wrote, adding, “(Don’t worry – there are still some whirling-pasties moments.)”
Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland
What: Classic story grows up and gets sexy in this Seattle-based production featuring such well-known burlesque names as Miss Indigo Blue and Waxie Moon.
When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia
Tickets: $15, $10 for Olympia Film Society members; available at www.brownpapertickets.com, Rainy Day Records and the box office the night of the show.
Also: There will be a beer garden in the mezzanine for ages 21 and older.