Avon Grove High School was awash in a wonderland of characters last weekend as the students pranced through a fast paced retelling of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by Stephanie Judge and Patricia Egner. The gentle Meghan Edwards was a delightful Alice, with the difficult role that required her to be on stage in almost every scene, which she handled beautifully. Her constant companion was the Cheshire cat who was played simultaneously by two actors, the ironic Noah Mogaka and the sinuous amused Lauren Finley with terrific make up, who worked together flawlessly as a team.
Early on in Wonderland Alice encounters the White Rabbit played with quick silver nervousness about being late by Cole Hanrahan. Devon Pankiw was a marvelously forceful caterpillar as she dispensed sophisticated wisdom from atop a mushroom. Attendants of the royal court, the noisy Jake Aaron as the Frog Footman and the dignified Courtier played by Matt Imming added to the fun.
The Knave of Hearts, who stole the tarts, was done beautifully by Paul Hammer whose face registered all his distress.... when caught. The madcap scene in the kitchen with the self assured Christine Gerwig as the mean Duchess who beats her baby and Emily Kantner as the frenzied cook who is whipping up her confections just as enthusiastically are delightful. The unidentified actress who wore a heavy ceramic bowl on her head was also marvelous. The contrast between the perpetually disagreeable Queen of Hearts, done nicely by Jessica Rossi, and the meek King as played by Nick Kwietniak went well.
The Tea Party was striking as Alice attempted to get some tea while the frenetic Mad Hatter and the snippy March Hare, each played perfectly by Alex Brannan and Gillian Hanna. Morgan Munyan was quite amusing as the Dormouse who continually fell asleep.
Nick Brendle and Tom Bradley stole every scene they were in with their knock about fights, prat falls and tumbling that were highlights of the show.
Another outstanding performance was given by Julia Lindsay as the slightly off balance Humpty Dumpty who offered some interesting comments and was caught with precision as she fell rather precariously backwards off the wall. Paola Arias was an amusing Mock Turtle while Christie Mooney was an impressive Gryphon. The starkly threatening Executioner Kunai Lobo was impressive while Soldiers Brett Eakin, Thomas Wehrle and Jess Myers and Gardeners Lilliana Guzman & Lindsey Howell did their parts well. The sober jurors who decided cases after the verdict was decided with a lot of moving around were played by Amanda Crittenden, Sara Matheny, Natalie Shah, Marie LeClaire, Mikaela Alft, Amanda Munyan, Emma Tilton, Gabrielle Salerni, Sandra Ayon and Jessica Clark.
Naturally there had to be a lot of cards in "Alice in Wonderland." A trio of prominent cards that spoke with messages was played by Becca Appleyard, Amanda Boyd and Jamie Boardman.
There were literally several crowds of small "cards" who ran on stage and recited messages, doing so with great charm. The young performers I saw perform as cards were Taylor Appleyard, Kylie Barkley, Kendall Bosio, Kristin Choma, Frances Farrell, Bradley Gerwig, Jonathon Harris, Joey Kwietniak, Bobby Murphy, Ashley Murphy, Joshua Reuter, Suzanne Saienni, Eric Umbach, Jake Wallauer, and Zoe Young. Performers who acted as "cards" in other performances included Joseph D'Ambrosia, Rachel Donten, Julia Engel, Kieran Eustace, Larissa Glaeser, Erin Marie Judge, Max Lagunas, Evan McCleary, Brayden Orpello-McCoy, Lorelei Sandland, Isabella Stryjewski and Lauren Yingling.
Avon Grove has a large stage that was brightened up by the addition of groups of ladies in hoop skirted dresses. Some of the ladies on stage included Lindsay McCormick, Karson Daisey and Sam Malone. The colorful flowers on stage in the performance I saw were Louise Crosson, Karson Daisey, Madison Hodges, Sam Malone and Anna Wright. The cute little flowers in bright colors who danced in and out included Veronika Brien, Sydney Brien, McKenzie Comer, Savannah Daly, Zoe Filbert, Ava Gray, Lauren Hazewski, Meghan Hepworth, Jamie Murterm, Amelia Nur, Penelope Scheck, Hana Smith, Abigayle Stanley, Kristie Szewczyk and Madison Turner. Actors as flowers in other performances were Masy Arnoldy, Kira Balcavage, Bridget Crawford, Mary Kate D'Ambrosio, Amelia Hartle, Savannah Kohler, Eileen Obetz, Meghan Obetz, Rachel Salenni, Emma Seipel, Jessica Sides, Savannah Sides, Sophie Stryjewski, June Thorngate and Cydni Wayland.
This trip to Wonderland was a lot of fun with the cast having a wonderful time being there. A good time was had by all.