Down in the depths of The Triple Door downtown, Verlaine and McCann’s “Through the Looking Glass” welcomes you to enter their fantastical Wonderland.
The show is a delight, combining the classic tale with great music and choreography. Lewis Carroll’s absurd wit and sense of humor is woven through the risqué performances, which is sure to please fans of his work. Everything comes together for a wonderful night of decadent debauchery.
Descending the winding path to a table in the beautiful theater, a mirror sits on stage inviting you to follow Alice to the hottest club in Wonderland. After a Duck Soup-style mirror dance, the audience is pulled with Alice into Wonderland as the curtain rises, revealing the Looking Glass Nightclub. The art deco-inspired set is completed by a black and gold bandstand, with an eight-piece ensemble providing live music.
Burlesque performance originated in 19th-century England and was brought to the United States in the 1860s, combining performance styles of cabaret, striptease, comedy, and musical theater. After declining in popularity in the middle of the 20th century, the form found a renaissance in the 1990s that has lasted to the present day. Experimentation by those nostalgic for the glamour of the turn of the century has pushed the form to satire and subversion masked with bawdy fun.
The show is hosted by the White Rabbit, who introduces each act. All the characters of Wonderland are featured. Between the shows is a storyline carried out by the two hostesses of the Looking Glass Club: Eat Me and Drink Me. They bicker and banter throughout the show, breaking the fourth wall and inviting us to participate in the fantasy on stage.
At the center of the well-written show are the performances themselves. Each song and dance number is perfectly tailored to the characters lifted from the book. Caterpillar slowly struts across the stage while taking drags through the cigarette holder resting between her fingers. The Knave of Hearts is left shirtless after an upbeat number where he is tried and found guilty. There is a nightmare shadowplay, a psychedelic scene with the flamingos, and a metamorphosis where two caterpillars turn into a butterfly.
The spellbinding performances are well thought-out and mesmerizing. Everyone not too prudish for burlesque is sure to find something they like.
Along with the entertainment, The Triple Door offers upscale food and drink, including specialty cocktails inspired by Wonderland. The price is around $30 dollars a plate, as well as the option for a prix fixe menu for $43.
“Through the Looking Glass” offers a memorable night for anyone looking for a great date idea, wanting to explore something new, or just trying to find some fun outside of the U-District.
Reach writer Chase Farley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @GChaseFarley