Michael Jeter Was Not the Caterpillar (Or the Caterpill*insert 'e' here*r)
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.
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