In 2011 Christopher Wheeldon created sustained narrative with ongoing character development, with his new classic ballet “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” a full-length work in three acts, for the Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House in Bow Street, Covent Garden, London. I am forever grateful that The Australian Ballet has carefully re-created this amazing fast-paced spectacular ballet, using the best of the best Australian ballet dancers and some guest artists, and is now available for Sydney audiences for a very limited time, after first being seen by Melbourne audiences.
This is the must see ballet this decade, so much better to experience live on stage, rather than watching The Royal Ballet September 2011 dvd version.
Brilliant family friendly ballet entertainment, has been adapted from Lewis Carroll’s childrens’ book. Christopher Wheeldon‘s always inventive and breathtaking choreography created for each famous character, is meticulously and gracefully combined with colour co-ordinated eclectic costumes by Bob Crowley, together with captivating colourful set designs also by Bob Crowley, all are a standout, and the famous plot has been blended with a memorable and thought provoking music score by Joby Talbot that contributes resonant depth to each well-remembered character. Banks of moving spots are used to create everything from black/white checker board flooring through to swimming in an ocean of tears.
Fully animated 4K high definition, bright video projection delivered the immediate ability to suspend disbelief, as Alice is seen to tumble and to fall down the rabbit hole, and provides the “drink me” Alice shrinking experience and then the “eat me” Alice expanding sequence, complete with the changing sizes of the wall of doors of the room that she tries to escape from. Gigantic Alice trapped in an ultra-tiny room, is a magicians delight with its delicious false perspective.
The Red Queen of Hearts is extremely tall, and later becomes extremely tall and wider, soon heralding the sudden and unexpected appearance of the Red King of Hearts. The Red Queen soon delivered howls of laughter from the children in the first night audience, so many wonderful things happen, and always suitable for all ages.
The captivating performance delivered by the tap-dancing Mad Hatter, drew applause from the well entertained audience. The full sized Cheshire Cat easily generated oohhs and aahhs from all, as did the brilliant full sized Caterpillar.
This Australian Ballet production, again and again, has absolutely perfect mises-en-scène optimally visualised for each and every complex scene, where the combination of choosing the perfect cast for each role, and every element of the set design and costumes and music soundtrack, have joined together to create a unique and very original ballet experience. Highly recommended.
Conductor: Nicolette Fraillon Alice: Ako Kondo Jack/The Knave of Hearts: Ty King-Wall Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit: Adam Bull Mother/Queen of Hearts: Amy Harris Father/King of Hearts: Steven Heathcote (Guest Artist) Magician/Mad Hatter: Kevin Jackson Raj/Caterpillar: Jarryd Madden Duchess: Ben Davis Wonderland Characters: Artists of The Australian Ballet and supernumeries. Choreography Christopher Wheeldon Music Joby Talbot orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Joby Talbot Scenario Nicholas Wright Set and costume design Bob Crowley Lighting design Natasha Katz Animated Projection designs Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington Puppet concept and design Toby Olié Magic consultant Paul Kieve With Opera Australia Orchestra in Sydney With Orchestra Victoria in Melbourne
Congratulations to Valerie Tereshchenko, who just received the 2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, and also to Jake Mangakahia, who took out the People’s Choice Award. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland© was commissioned and first performed by The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland© is a co-production of The Australian Ballet and The National Ballet of Japan. The Kenneth R Reed Fund generously supports the re-creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© for The Australian Ballet.
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND is playing 5-22 December 2017 at The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, Sydney.
Photography by Johan Persson. All images depict the Artists of The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland©. © ROH, 2013.