Dazzling Alice in Wonderland ballet back at Covent Garden

Mar 26, 2013

The Royal Ballet's version of the classic fairy tale is set to be a treat on stage and screen

What you need to know
The Royal Ballet's revival of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has opened at the Royal Opera House. First performed in 2011, it features a score by Joby Talbot and sets by Bob Crowley.

Based on Lewis Carroll's dark, absurdist fairy tale, the ballet tells the story of a girl who falls down a rabbit hole and encounters a series of extraordinary characters, including the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat.

Sarah Lamb and Lauren Cuthbertson alternate in the role of Alice. Until 13 April. Broadcast live in cinemas on 28 March.

What the critics like
It's a winner, says Sarah Crompton in the Daily Telegraph. Wheeldon's magic is there from the beginning. The audience regularly gasped in rapture, and applauded with delight.

It's a delirious flurry of invention, says David Jays in the Sunday Times. Talbot has created a "glorious moving toy shop" of a score and Crowley's set is perfectly discombobulating. "It's sure to be a treat on screen."

Wheeldon's ballet is a riot for the imagination, says Keith Watson in Metro. The designs are dazzling. A massive, haunting Cheshire Cat, a sinuous Caterpillar and ingenious shifts of perspective capture the spirit of Carroll's "mind-bending" original.

What they don't like
If you like dazzling visuals, this is for you, says Judith Flanders at Artsdesk. If you want a dance-drama, you're out of luck. Wheeldon doesn't seem to know how to tell a story with dance, and relies on video tricks, projections and Crowley's fine sets instead.

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