Lobster Alice

Rated 2.0 Lobster Alice stems from an intriguing incident: In 1946, Walt Disney hired surrealist Salvador Dalí to assist in creating a short film. It’s candy for the brain; both Dalí and Uncle Walt were tremendous commercial marketers and self-promoters. But Dalí rode to fame, and wealth, with sharp-edged, hallucinatory and erotic imagery, whereas Disney specialized in chaste, pastel family fare.Alas, Dalí’s dalliance in Mickey Mouse Land didn’t amount to much, and neither does playwright Kira Obolensky’s cautious, oddly organized effort to imagine what went on. Truth be told, there’s only one scene in which the playwright attempts a deep look into Dalí’s mind and soul—and Bill McNulty as Dalí acts up a storm when this opportunity arises, creating the show’s most memorable moment.

Too much of the play deals with a slow, veiled, stop-start romance between dull, repressed animator Finch (Jason Kuykendall) and his assistant Alice (Dana Brooke, formerly a B Street intern). Brooke’s Alice, with her luminous glance, wants to break into a world of exploration and adventure, artistically, sexually and otherwise. But this tame production, which Disney might almost have blessed, concludes with a mealy-mouthed enactment of the wedding-cake ritual, as Finch and Alice feed each other sandwiches in a deserted office.

The playwright also invokes Alice in Wonderland—as if Dalí wasn’t wild enough. But director Buck Busfield’s efforts at the surreal onstage are tame, particularly after Robert Lepage’s La Casa Azul, about Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo. Lepage got far better effects with equally simple props. Lobster Alice is faint by comparison.