Review: "Queen of Hearts" Conjures a Decadent Wonderland
Queen of Hearts
Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Austin McCormick
Presented by Company XIV at Théâtre XIV (21+ only)
383 Troutman Street, Brooklyn, NYC
July 25-November 2, 2019
|Nolan McKew, Làszlò Major, Ian Spring, Sam Urdang, Nicholas Katen, Michael Cunio, LEXXE, Lilin Lace, Jacoby Pruitt, Ryan Redmond, Ross Katen, Jourdan Epstein, Allison Schuster, Marcy Richardson. Photo credit: Mark Shelby Perry.|
Queen of Hearts begins its first chapter, "Lady Alice," with Alice (LEXXE) installed on a bed set before a trio of mirrored wardrobes, pausing to regard herself in a handheld looking glass or to accept or wave away dainties and other offerings from servants. Soon enough, though, she is off down the rabbit hole, losing her baroque wig and eighteenth-century dress in the process. From there, Austin McCormick and Company XIV reimagine the major characters and events of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a stunning, heady fusion of cabaret, carnival, dance theater, and burlesque.
|Michael Cunio. Photo credit: Mark Shelley Perry|
|Ian Spring and LEXXE. Photo credit: Mark Shelley Perry.|
|Marcy Richardson. Photo credit: Mark Shelby Perry.|
Théâtre XIV has a great atmosphere, and Queen of Hearts blends audience and performance space not only though staging and small interactive moments but also through touches such as a menu of Alice-themed drinks, at least one served in a teacup. The three-act show, which runs around two and a half hours, also leads into and out of its two intermissions with short performances such as juggling or lip syncing. With tremendous performances; marvelous, sometimes beautiful choreography; playful, infectious energy; and plenty of glitter, spangles, and confetti, Queen of Hearts delivers a unique synthesis of art forms. The only disappointment is that this mad party, like Alice's adventures, has to end.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards
Watch the Queen of Hearts Trailer: