Monday 14 March 2011

Alice in Wonderland at Covent Garden

Last Thursday I went to see the Royal Ballet production of Alice in Wonderland at The Royal Opera House with Snowboarding Boy.

In short, it was splendid. Even if the soaring temperatures, standing tickets and 70-minute first act meant Snowboarding Boy almost passed out.

A little light on the dancing, this production is a visual feast of colour, costumes and characters, and the clever attention to detail means that it's not too apparent that they have squeezed a massively long and complicated story into an evening's entertainment.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing however, was the use of film. This illustrated Alice's fall down the rabbit hole, her massive growth and her shrinkage too, and each time, it took very little imagination to really believe what was going on.

The Queen of Hearts was perhaps the most entertaining character. She swept in in a heart-themed box on wheels, which was then opened to reveal the brow-beaten king inside. Her dance with various characters was hilarious as they dropped her, lifted her in the most inelegant way and generally made a fool out of her.

And Alice? A brunette in a purple dress, I thought she was wonderful. With visible expression conveyed to even the standing paupers at the back, she had both elegance and attitude and the sight of her struggling to get through the tiny door, legs flailing, had me in fits of giggles.

In long, it was one of the best performances I have ever seen. But La Fille Mal Gardée is still the best ballet I've ever seen.

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