Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Alice in Wonderland - The Ballet

National Ballet of Canada performs Alice in Wonderland

Some stories just seem natural to be a ballet and others seem unusual until you think about it.  This one definitely WORKS!  You expect Alice In Wonderland to be very visual and this production is very tuned in to that.  The colors are stunning, amazingly colorful costumes and sets, worked with projections to make the fantastical seem real.  Doors that shrink or expand, cards that shuffle and re-arrange to the music, and a very unexpected hatchet fall to close Act II were all adding to the show without being too much.  Reminded me of how pioneers such as The Joffrey who first did such things really were on to something -- it makes the show BIGGER. 

The cast was really large and they had three groups of primary dancers in the leads for different performances.  the ones I saw were Jillian Vanstone and Naoya Ebe and I really loved their interpretations.

Some highlights were the tap dancing Mad-Hatter and the red-John Lennon spectacled White Rabbit.  The Cheshire cat was in multiple pieces that were combined and recombined and juggled around to convey its adaptability.  The Queen of Hearts was in Bright Red and in her movements she had to convey clutsiness etc...  To dance badly intentionally for the sake of humor and character has to be even more challenging to a dancer than to be great at dancing in general, but kudos to her.  Her guards reminded me of bright red storm-troopers with axes.  And I have to mention the adorable children as hedgehogs tumbling around through the human arches (cant remember what those croquet hoops are called). 

All in all, this was a fabulous night at the Ballet!


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