Audiences will discover a world beyond their imagination as they fall down the rabbit hole in The Australian Ballet’s highly anticipated premiere of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Arts Centre Melbourne from 12 September, before heading to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in December 2017.
This magnificent production by one of the world’s greatest living choreographers, Christopher Wheeldon, translates into dance all the wit and charm of the original tale by Lewis Carroll. Wildly imaginative set and costume designs will transport audiences into a world of pure wonder.
During a garden party at her family home, Alice enjoys the company of her crush, Jack, and the amusements of a family friend, Lewis Carroll. Her day takes a curious turn when Lewis transforms into a White Rabbit and she tumbles down the rabbit hole after him.
Alice finds herself in a world of wonder, as she embarks on a series of absurd, hilarious and at times frightening adventures. Jack has become the Knave of Hearts, relentlessly persecuted by the bad-tempered Queen of Hearts. Alice finds a magic cake which turns her into a giant. She swims in a lake of her own tears. She encounters a mysterious Cheshire Cat, and then a bizarre tea party presided over by a Mad Hatter. She meets a mesmerising Caterpillar perched on a mushroom, and then, at last, is reunited briefly with the Knave in a magical garden.
The tyrannical Queen of Hearts is torturing her subjects with dance demonstrations and a strange game of croquet, all the while blithely ordering the executions of those who displease her. The Knave is finally discovered and brought to trial, and mayhem ensues. Alice comes to the Knave’s defence and together they deliver a testimony that wins the hearts of all but the Queen. When Alice attempts to flee, the whole court comes crashing down around her. But the very next minute, Alice awakes…
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was created on The Royal Ballet in 2011 and has since enthralled audiences the world over. Although best known in Australia for contemporary works like After the Rain, and the rapid-fire DGV: Danse a grande vitesse, Wheeldon reimagines this beloved story with a traditional classical structure, interspersed with dramatic twists and comedic turns to give it a contemporary edge.
Designer Bob Crowley’s thrillingly inventive sets and costumes establish a new standard for stage design. The magical world of Wonderland and its absurd and fantastical inhabitants are brought to life through puppetry, optical illusion, immersive digital projections, countless wigs and masks, and intricately detailed and vibrant costumes. Highlights include an eerily disembodied grinning Cheshire Cat puppet manipulated by six dancers, and a sensuous indigo Caterpillar with eight pairs of bejewelled pointe shoe-clad feet.
Commissioned especially for this production, Joby Talbot’s theatrical score sweeps the action along and reflects Alice’s responses to the strange events unfolding around her. All the romance and theatricality of a 19th-century ballet combine with more contemporary sounds to create a witty and melodic score.
With its inventive choreography, charming score and imaginative visual design, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a must-see event and the perfect final act to a wondrous year of ballet.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 12 – 23 September 2017
Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket (Sydney)
Season: 5 – 22 December 2017
For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.
Image: Artists of The Royal Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – photo Johan Persson