Alice wows in first new Royal Ballet show for 15 years
Alice, the white rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts bounded onto the London stage this week in the first full-length piece commissioned for The Royal Ballet in 15 years.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", an entirely new production choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, depicts the weird world imagined by author Lewis Carroll in what the company hopes will become a classic.
If the audience reaction and the critics are anything to go by, the Royal Opera House is onto a winner with a show full of comedy and verve, with classic steps, a tap-dancing Mad Hatter and a Shakespearean actor as the Duchess.
Wheeldon and his team "have created an Alice whose wit, speed and invention have lifted the whole story ballet genre into the 21st century," said a reviewer in The Guardian, adding: "This Alice looks set to become a classic."
Lauren Cuthbertson, the Royal Ballet's youngest ever female principal, "keeps the attention" as the young Alice, while Zenaida Yanowsky plays the Queen of Hearts "with psychotic relish", said The Daily Telegraph.
In a highly innovative set, videos are used to create the illusions needed for the magic of Carroll, including Alice's endless fall down the rabbit hole and her subsequent transformations into a giant or a tiny person.
Critics remarked there was perhaps too much action and not enough dance, but when the curtain fell, the crowd's overwhelmingly enthusiastic response was reminiscent of popular West End shows, not the serious Covent Garden.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is at the Royal Opera House in London until March 15, when it moves to Toronto, performed by the National Ballet of Canada, from June 4 to 25.
© 2011 AFP