Alice & The Bunny Hole
nytheatre.com review by Heather Lee Rogers
August 16, 2012
Disclaimer: I really like Jefferson Airplane’s song “White Rabbit” so when I entered La MaMa and a dance re-mix of it was playing for the pre-show, you could say I was biased to like the show already.
Elixir Productions delivers Alice and The Bunny Hole, which is a provocative modern play about happiness and desire riffing on themes from Alice in Wonderland. The play begins in a sexy bar called The Bunny Hole, run by a worldly proprietor named Bunny. One night Alice (the sweet, blonde girlfriend) and Bobby (her macho boyfriend) show up at The Bunny Hole to meet Jerome & Kelly – another couple they arranged to hook up with on a swinger’s website. The trouble is, Alice & Bobby were pretty drunk when they did this and didn’t notice that Kelly and Jerome are gay boys. Alice is intrigued anyway but Bobby urges her to leave. Then when Bunny’s x-rated mail keeps arriving at Alice & Bobby’s apartment, Alice and Bunny become friends. With the excuse of research for her job (writing match algorithms for a dating website) Alice finds more and more reasons to frequent The Bunny Hole. She also finds more and more reasons to seek escape from her stale relationship with Bobby.
The play written by co-director Alex DeFazio is very strong. It makes loads of fun references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Wonderland while still existing in its own modern world. There is a Mad Hatter type of character (played by co-director Jody R. Person) who frequents the bar and appears out of his mind because he’s drinking and has been hurt in love so many times. This character, listed in the program as “The Man with the Tiny Hat” borrows from Shakespeare and speaks in a generally antiquated way because he believes it’s more beautiful. There is the DJ who is almost always asleep (like the Doormouse) when she is not spinning records. There is a lot of talk about shrinking and growing as the character’s go through emotional upsets.
The cast includes theater veterans, Elixir regulars, and newbies still in acting school. All gave strong performances and held their own. I particularly admired Michelle Wood’s Alice. With a slight build and a high sweet voice, she managed to give a surprising amount of power and punch to her character and skillfully carries the play. I also bought her lust and kinky curiosity as genuine too, despite her wholesome looks.
Point blank: Alice and The Bunny Hole is hot fun. It also provides a very honest and thoughtful look at love and sex in relationships. I recommend bringing a date and buying tickets in advance. As a bonus at each performance they give away a gift to a pre-sale audience member from their sponsor, Babeland.