Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
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So why just 4 stars?
The Plus Points:
1. Almost all the characters in the ballet have a significant role to play dance-wise. The story offers such a bevy of diverse characters, and each have been portrayed rather competently, with something for everyone on the stage.
2. Nice innovations within the ballet, especially for the Tap Dancing Mad Hatter, a brilliant move that brings out the character of the Mad Hatter in to the dance form beautifully. The role of the Duchess has been performed by the 'imported' theater personality brilliantly. The Pax de Deux in the ballet are simply superb, both dance and music-wise, and this is where Cuthbertson and Polunin are at their very best. The parody within the ballet, - a take off on Aurora's birthday party dance by Tchaikovsky is quite very apt and beautifully choreographed and executed.
3. Sets, Lighting and special effects lift this ballet to the 21st century, and an indication of the the shape of things to come... Excellently shot video too.
4. Well performed and recorded music.
A Neutral Point to Ponder:
According to me, whether a ballet becomes a 'classic' or falls by the wayside or into an occasionally performed piece is solely dependent on the strength of its music. The more successful productions of the ROH have had excellent music to support the dances. In Mayerling, it was the music of Liszt...Read more ›
Since Balanchine's death in April 1983 no choreographer has emerged to unambiguously don the mantle of genius. That may weigh heavily in Homans' calculations of ballet's future prospects. What we have had are glimpses of new styles of dance, of pastiche ballets, of a new irreverence that upends ballet's history. That playfulness that we signify as irreverence often toys with our expectations of what we think are the genuine artistic pretensions of modern dance versus what are merely a form of glamorous kitsch in motion. Mark Morris' ingenious and witty 1991 version of The Nutcracker, "The Hard Nut", is a landmark representative of several of these trends and the very embodiment of the new playfulness.
With the 2011 premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, based on Lewis Carroll's children's book for grown-ups, the various recent trends in ballet have been united in a masterful souffle. Instantly and dramatically obvious is that Alice is only possible in our multimedia era.Read more ›
I do not understand the review that complains about the editing. It is true that the camera is not distant and static, but this work does not have any elaborate compositions for the corps, or even elongated pas-de-deux, that would benefit from this treatment. The closeups are dynamic and exciting, and entirely appropriate to the burlesque nature of the show.
The music is not great, but it is better than any officially sanctioned "classical" music composed after 1950 that I have ever heard, so by those standards you could even consider it melodic and beautiful. The music is perfectly in keeping with the character of the work. Given that ALL modern music is severely debased from classical standards, it would be churlish to complain about the effort made here.
Second, why do I rate this five stars?
Don't try to compare this to a classical ballet. It is a a frivolous work of entertainment. You won't see prolonged displays of elegance. You won't be moved or captivated by its beauty---well, maybe you will be surprised sometimes! But you certainly will be amazed by its virtuosity and creativity.
Within its own aesthetic realm, of color, spectacle, costume and set design, it is absolutely unparalleled. The effects are really superb, and perfectly express the character of the original Alice in Wonderland. If you were to judge any classical ballet by the costuming and design standards set here, you have to fail Swan Lake, Giselle, and countless others. The twists on the original tale are delightful and play off of the Alice story in a delightful way. The whole work expresses a fantastical "Aliceness" that will stay with you after watching. It is joy and wit expressed in movement, and is entirely bold and original. It is true art and artistry, and I can do nothing but applaud the effort.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw clips from this ballet on YouTube and bought the DVD as a result. I am very impressed with the beauty of the production, the highest quality of dancing, and a few very... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Eileen Pollock
I lived this recording of the show. I had seen this version before, but I wanted to own it. :)Published 11 months ago by Chrissy
Saw the ballet at the cinema. Just had to have it to see again. Need to make time to enjoy this repeatedly. The Queen of Hearts is superlative.Published 13 months ago by L. Anderson
One of the finest ballets in all respects I have ever seen. The book was one of my treasures from a very early age and how the choreographer and designers would achive its... Read morePublished 15 months ago by john kemsey-bourne