Take a trip through Wonderland!

Take a trip through Wonderland!Caris Matlock, Allison Conliffe and Chloe Wetzel are Tall, Medium and Small Alice in the "Diamonds" cast of RMES Rising Stars’ "Alice in Wonderland, Jr," which wraps this weekend at Cerro Coso Community College — photo by Ian M. Terry

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By IAN M. TERRY

News Review Correspondent

Take a trip through Wonderland and hop down the rabbit hole with Alice, one of literature’s most beloved heroines, in her madcap adventures with friend and foe alike.

The ever-curious Alice greets us in all three familiar sizes this week, as any self-respecting adaptation of this Lewis Carroll classic should. But to call this Ridgecrest Musical Enrichment Society production of “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” simply self-respecting does a small injustice to the talented and enthusiastic Diamonds Cast you can see in this week’s performances.

But no time to periphrasticate, I’ve got a review to write; I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!

EDITOR’s NOTE: Apologies for the interruption from the anxious and punctually challenged White Rabbit — our writer has the Eve Washburn bug. Washburn plays the role with such authenticity you almost become anxious on her behalf. An excellent job. On with the show!

Somewhere between ten feet tall and two inches small, Alice is portrayed this week by Diamonds Cast members Allison Conliffe, Caris Matlock, and Chloe Wetzel. (Conliffe, Caris, and Chloe? Curiouser and curiouser.) Each player brings a unique look into the challenges Alice faces in the topsy-turvy-big-small world of Wonderland.

Along this familiar trip, we bump into most everyone you would expect, including the Cheshire Cat, the Tweedle Twins, and the Queen of Hearts, skillfully and charmingly portrayed by Citlali Tellez, Lindsay Mower (T. Dee), Yleana Mower (T. Dum), and Lydia Washburn, respectively.

If you are feeling any confusion or misunderstanding in the unnecessarily wordy and clumsy introduction to this piece in the generally frantic style of our friend the White Rabbit, may it better prepare you for your very mad visit with a very Mad Hatter, played by Lorna Havig, who is mad in the best way possible.

Before we rush off to the tea party, we will need the advice and guidance of one of the more enigmatic creatures of Wonderland in the Caterpillar, sans hooka, played marvelously by Alli Garcia.

Havig invites Alice to join the un-birthday tea party, where we catch up with the White Rabbit and a few slightly mad friends in the Doormouse and March Hare. Emilia Tippetts delights as the energetic Doormouse, and the makeup and costume of Genevieve Welsh’s March Hare are as captivating as her voice.

Speaking of mice and rabbits, what better place to make note of the overall stage quality of this production? The costumes are highly detailed, the sets are bright and fun, and the makeup is colorful and detailed. Many kudos to the stage crew (and live musical accompaniment!), who transform this small stage production into a fully immersive theater experience.

The show features several enjoyable musical mixes, supported by a talented cast of young citizen-vocalists of Wonderland, including a garden’s worth of mean flowers, some thuggish royal goons, and for some reason a few lobsters and a turtle.

Speaking of mean flowers, the scowl on the face of Lydia Washburn as the Queen of Hearts befits even the most hardened guillotine enthusiast, which the Queen of Wonderland most unabashedly is.

Every player in this production really does an outstanding job in their roles, both individually and as members of an ensemble. While I wish I could spotlight each cast member individually, I’M LATE!

Don’t miss your chance to see the Diamonds Cast yourself on the Cerro Coso Community College Lecture Center stage.

The Diamonds Cast will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 15-16. The Hearts Cast will give their final performance during a matinee on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before the show starts.

Tickets for closing weekend are sold out, but last-minute tickets can sometimes be purchased at the door. Tickets are $8 general admission, $6 for RMES members and $7 for military, students and seniors.

Don’t be late!

Story First Published: 2019-03-13