By Chet Yarbrough
Narrated by B.J. Harrison
Reviewing “Alice in Wonderland” violates the Mock Turtle’s rule because, as the turtle says when he asks Alice to tell a story, it is the story’s adventure not it’s meaning that is important.
Ninety five cents cannot be better spent than in purchasing an audible version of Lewis Carroll’s story of “Alice in Wonderland”; i.e. B. J. Harrison makes Lewis Carroll’s tale a piece of performance art.
Harrison uses his voice like an orchestra’s instrument to bring Carroll’s obsessive characters to life. Fascinating characters like the March Hare (White Rabbit), the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, the Dormous, the Queen, the King, the Cheshire Cat, the Griffin, the Mock Turtle et al. may mean more than they seem but all Carroll is clearly writing about is Alice’s noon-nap phantasm. Of course, there may be more meaning. The story may be skewering caucus politics, empty headed human rationalization, life’s arbitrariness, or judicial pomposity but, in the end, it is a funny adventure in a dream meant to entertain little girls and boys.
Following Alice down the rabbit hole, falling, falling, falling is like seeing Dorothy whirling up in the Wizard-of-Oz’ sky. The listener feels loss of control that threatens and thrills; inspiring fear but beckoning imagination. What will happen when Alice lands; where will she be; what will she see, and who will she meet?
As the story turns, Alice lands lightly in a land of talking animals, mythical griffins, queens of hearts, and stolen tarts. As Alice explores her surrounding, she grows incredibly small and grotesquely large; she is invited to a tea party to discuss time and attends court as a witness to a crime.
In the end, Alice defends her space from talking playing cards’ assault but she awakes to find leaves falling on her face; as Alice tells her story, one wonders what happened in the land of the dreamed chase.
It is a wonderful story and a great adventure. It tells of a Bizzaro World not unlike today’s with Mad Hatters, White Hares, and Queens of Hearts vying for fame or fortune at the expense of all.