It starts out cohesively enough, with Gretel, now Snow White's niece, visited by Hansel and Goldilocks (now a redheaded 20-something who's pregnant by Hansel) and warned of a coming appearance by the Wolf (Moreno), who thinks Little Red Riding Hood still lives in that house. Soon three fairy tale characters are dead, and the body count will increase rapidly, thanks to several fight sequences, quite spectacularly choreographed by Alexis Black (who also directs with Moreno) and well executed by a large cast of characters. Most are out of the Brothers Grimm, though Lewis Carroll gets raided as well, with Alice (Michaela Alyse Tomcho) now a jaded club chick and Club Wonderland a dangerous gathering place for the likes of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty (renamed Aurora, a fetching Dinah Berkeley), and the White Rabbit. Red Riding Hood (Sarah e Jacobs) is a lesbian bar owner, Aurora is a paparazzi-fleeing celebrity, and Prince Charming (Benjamin Gooch) is vain, shallow, and stupid. (Gooch lands every laugh and mines a few that aren't in the script; the young man has a future.)
There's plenty of imagination here, and it's decked out with smart goth-influenced costumes (by Julianne Kroboth), trendy original music (by Daniel A Weiss), and TMZ-spoofing video sequences. It's amusing for a while to have Snow White sighing, "My life is so fucking lame," or Charming suggesting that he and Aurora "swap some spit." But it gets tired. "Into the Woods," another fairy-tale combo, had points to make about parent-child relations and facing fears and sharing responsibility. "Happily After Tonight" seemingly exists just to juxtapose innocent bedtime-story characters with harsh modern realities and graphic cinematic violence. It goes nowhere and does so haphazardly. As one character remarks: "It would be great if things started making sense for a change."
Presented by A Five Dollar Bill at TBG Theatre, 312 W. 36th St., 3rd floor, NYC. July 19–28. Wed.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 8 p.m. (212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com.