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  • Finally on DVD!!!! People familiar with this piece either really love it or just can't get into it. I belong to the former category. I first saw 'Alice at the Palace' on TV in 1981 as part of this thing NBC was doing called Project Peacock. I don't really know what that was, but I think it was like an attempt to bring PBS –style programming to the unwashed masses.

    In any event, I remember that it came on at a time when Meryl Streep was getting a lot of flack for being such a 'serious' actress. This program was a delightful surprise to both her fans and detractors who at this point had no idea that she could sing and dance and had a flair for comedy. A musical adaptation of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass, 'Alice at the Palace' uses the style and trappings of 19th century British Music Hall to tell the story of the bored little girl who falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a strange world.

    This theatrical conceit makes for lots of imaginative songs and very clever staging. Streep as Alice is charming throughout (and noticeably pregnant) and displays a fine singing voice. The rest of the cast is peopled with familiar TV faces: Betty Aberlin, who played Lady Aberlin for so many years on 'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood,' Mark Linn Baker, from that awful sitcom 'Perfect Strangers,' Michael Jeter from 'Picket Fences,' and most recognizable, Debbie Allen from 'Fame.'

    All are wonderful, but the real pleasure of the show is Meryl Streep and her boundless versatility. She brings small bits of genius to her performance that never fail to fascinate. I have never seen an adult adopt so authentically the mannerisms and body language of a child. She is truly talented.

    The songs are all uniformly wonderful, many of them a comic pastiche or parody of certain musical artists and genres. Streep does a killer Joan Baez, Aberline does a great take on a lounge jazz singer.

    For several years I enjoyed my old VCR TV copy of the show (with all those damn James Garner-Mariette Hartley Polaroid commercials) but it was badly overplayed and scratched. I was thrilled last year to have discovered the DVD release from KULTUR videos.

    For anyone who has kids, who loves theater, or who thinks Streep should have starred in 'Evita,' this, show is for you!
  • I had almost thought this was a figment of my imagination.....I remember this from so long ago, and I recently decided to Google the title to see what happened----I was so hoping for it to be on video! The songs and the entire production were so fetching! I can remember the Cheshire Cat's song so well! I only saw this one time on television, but for some reason the title stuck in my head and I always hoped to find it someday! I cannot believe it is from so long ago!!! 1982---oh, my! Someone, somewhere must have a tape of this--can I buy a copy from you?? E-mail me if you have one!! Thanxxxxxxxx--------- Maxxine Alma

    Maxxine_Alma@yahoo.com
  • I actually grew up watching this musical and it has been something of a family treasure. Unfortunately, our copy (taped one Saturday afternoon during NBC's Project Peacock) was incomplete (about a 30 second spot where someone accidentally changed the channel while recording).

    My whole family loved this musical and I would highly recommend it to all. Great music, great comedy. I'm not a huge Meryl Streep fan, but this is a great show to watch. She does a pretty convincing job of playing a young girl who has fallen down a rabbit hole and ended up in a very strange land. I believe this musical is a combination of Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland. Excellent.

    And if anyone knows where I can find a copy of this, let me know!
  • Michael Jeter was not the Caterpillar, though he was the Duchess' Baby, the Dormouse and Bill the Lizard. He was an amazing character actor, and his work in "Alice at the Palace" illustrates it.

    I remember watching "Palace" when it first aired in 1981. I was 9, and I didn't get it. Now, at the ripe old age of 36, I'm a huge fan. The ensemble is simply top notch, from Meryl Streep and Rodney Hudson to Debbie Allen, Mark Linn-Baker (his Mock Turtle and White Knight are spot on) and Jeter.

    Other reviews of this production have been harsh. Most audiences prefer to have the story handed to them ala Disney. In the theatre, audiences are given more credit and expected to "fill in the blanks" with their imagination. That is definitely the case here. The actors, in the same spirit as the 1966 BBC version of "Alice", are not smothered or suffocated beyond recognition by their costumes. Instead they're allowed to use their bodies (wow, what a concept) to morph and melt from one character to the next. The result is breath taking.

    Now, here's something a little off topic but nonetheless important to mention. Why is it that, next to Michael Jeter's name in the cast roster, the word "Caterpillar" is misspelled and posted anyway, yet when I attempt to misspell it in the title of this post, the word is automatically spell checked and fixed? That makes no sense, but I suppose it fits with the theme of this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you love music hall theater, 'Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass' or you can't get enough of Meryl Streep, this entertainment is it.

    I saw this a million or so years ago on public broadcasting and always wanted to see it again or own a copy. so i was really happy that this became available to own.

    the whole cast is extremely engaging and funny, especially Meryl Streep who is hilarious and very light on her feet. her renditions of the many musical numbers are charming and witty and her solo moments like "There Was A Man Sitting On A Gate" are excellent. also check out Streep pantomiming falling down the rabbit hole, it's a riot. the rest of the ensemble cast is also side-splittingly funny. especially Michael Jeeter who is a total freak- out as the Doormouse and the baby. when Jeeter was on his tippy toes as the Doormouse i almost really lost it.

    for 'Alice' fans, the music hall adaptation here is extremely faithful to the Lewis Carroll stories which makes the unique and totally original approach even more fun.
  • I've seen several stage and film adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and this one has to take the cake as the absolute worst. My family bought the DVD unsuspectingly and couldn't even make it through the first half. I later went back and forced myself to watch the whole thing (it had been a Christmas gift to me) and was just appalled.

    The only redeeming factor (and it's hardly redeeming enough to save the whole show) is Mark Lin-Baker playing the Mock Turtle with a Yiddish accent. It's one of the few moments in the piece that has some real charm and can be taken somewhat seriously. Other than that, the songs are half-songs, the melodies are half-melodies and even Meryl Streep cannot make this direction look good.