I have been wanting to see the Alice in Wonderland ballet since before I arrived in London. The pictures of the set looked insane, with bright colours popping and the queen of hearts in a PVC bustier. What more could you want out of a ballet?
Only problem was that every other culture vulture in Britain seemed to have the same idea. I have not had to fight so hard for tickets since booking Britney’s Australian tour in 2011. So at 9am on the dot, ticket sales opened and I became the James Bond of ballet booking, ruthlessly leaving M dead and bloody in my wake as I fought for the balcony seats. Mission accomplished.
The show was 100% worth the effort. Where normal ballets can get a little esoteric, this is candy colored fodder for the masses. It may have been the story itself, the Alice in Wonderland tale has been retold so many times it is part of our cultural conscious. This meant that the dancers didn’t have to explain the story, they could just delve right into the drama and the special effects.
Oh what special effects they were. The way that Alice grew bigger and smaller after a run in with an ‘eat me’ cake was completely unexpected. They used a combination of images projected on a backdrop, remote controlled doors and perspective to completely wrap the audience in this magical world.
The standout dance of the night had to be the Queen of Hearts. I don’t want to give anything away, but the comedy of her movements had even the most hardened ballet cynics chuckling in their seats like delinquent children.
Other highlights included mini-ballerinas as the hedgehogs rolling through croquet wickets; an amazingly flexible Arabian Nights caterpillar; the descent into the Sweeny Todd -esque world of cleavers, mad cooks and babies being made into sausages; and who could forget the giant specter of the Cheshire Cat.
This is a not to miss ballet that will delight ballet fans and collectors of kooky alike.
P.s. I couldn’t take any pictures, so the photo is of my cat Alfie