Queen of Hearts


Company XIV has done it again with the triumphant return of Queen of Hearts, their baroque burlesque romp through Wonderland. But like the return of any of their shows, the company is constantly evolving and growing, incorporating new elements to ensure that no show is the same as any previous iteration. The result in the case of Queen of Hearts is a sumptuous, stunning, sexy version of Alice in Wonderland that will transport you to another dimension. 

One of the best new twists in Queen of Hearts is the original music by Lexxe, the singer/songwriter/performer who also stars as Alice. Past productions make cheeky use of a wide range of already-existing songs to fit the mood of each performance, but to have songs tailor-made for Wonderland and brilliantly performed by the cast (including, of course, Lexxe) makes this production something special. 

Outside of her musical contributions, Lexxe as Alice is a charming and endearing main character who serves as our eyes and ears into Wonderland. The show opens on “Lady” Alice, in Victorian dress with enormous skirts, struggling against the restrictions of women in society as well as the unrelenting poking and prodding of her attendants. She collapses, exhausted, until a mysterious White Rabbit (PhillVonAwesome) appears in her bedroom and takes her to a place where she can finally let loose all her inhibitions. 

Wonderland is populated with the characters and the quirks that we all know and love, but there is so much more to love in this thrilling underground version. Alice falls into a pool of her own tears and is accompanied by an aerial dancing mermaid (Nolan) swinging above the audience. The Mad Hatter (Nicholas Katen) and the Cheshire Cat (Duana Taste) each put on stunning dance performances for Alice at the “tea party.” The Caterpillar arrives in a full bondage suit, carried by a retinue of attendants to the stage, before emerging fully formed in a butterfly dress – only to strip that off to perform a jaw-dropping belly dance routine. At one point in the evening, cakes descend from the ceiling – if you know your Lewis Carroll, you can probably guess when. 

But the show reaches its climax when the titular character is finally introduced: the Queen of Hearts, played by Madison Rose, who makes an extravagant entrance fit for a queen and proceeds to bring the house down. She exudes power, strength, and just a little bit of that irrational bloodthirstiness that makes the Queen of Hearts so iconic. In a sweet twist, the Queen of Hearts and Alice share a tender song: here, Alice attempts to win the queen’s heart. But of course, not even pleading ballads can keep the Queen from her true nature for long, and the show has an ending as abrupt as the swinging of an axe. 

Queen of Hearts is a triumph through and through. The wide range of performances by the cast members never cease to amaze, the original music by Lexxe gives the show a unique edge, and the creativity of Company XIV never seems to run dry. Long live the Queen. 

Creator, producer, director, choreographer: Austin McCormick

Costume and scenic design: Zane Pihlström

Original music by Lexxe

Cast includes: Lexxe, Madison Rose, Brandom Looney, PhillVonAwesome, Nolan, Alisa Mae, Emily Stockwell, Morgan Doelp, Nicholas Katen, Duana Taste, Syrena, Erin Dillon, Clairisa S. Patton, Joey Columbus