ALL in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide…
Or may be we dance? The Canadian ballet production of Alice’s Adventures starts in the summer afternoon when Lewis Carrol kindly entertains little Liddel and her sisters with a book and a photo camera. The guests for the dinner party start arriving one by one: here comes a stout lady nervously shaking her baby’s cradle, here goes an Indian rajah with a big mushroom-like umbrella and several servants and so on. The mother is desperate already, because Jack, the gardener’s boy,brought in the basket of white roses with a red rose in it. Such a disgrace! She throws away the rose and sends the boy away. But Jack picks it up and gives the red rose to Alice and in exchange Alice gives a jam tart to him which is supposed to be for the guests. The mother doesn’t want to go into details, Jack obviously stole the tart and must be dismissed.
Feeling upset and lonely Alice sits down beside Lewis Carrol who is just about to take a picture of this merry gathering. Flash! Camera starts turning at an unusual speed, it got darker and the time has stopped. At this moment Lewis Carrol turns into the White Rabbit and his camera into the Rabbit Hole.
The ballet is a fusion of dance, gorgeous decorations, costumes and digital arts. The way they ‘resized’ Alice was an interesting one: she stayed the same it were the things around her that changed the size. Quite smart, right? This kind of thing would happen in a dream, when everything that surrounds you seems queer.
The performance is going around …. love, of course love! Jack – that Jack of Hearts who stole the tarts is the one who Alice tries to save from the cruel Queen. Though the Queen as everything else in this ballet has a humourous twist and is adorable in her own way, you just can’t take her seriously and you miss her’ of-with-their-heads’ orders.
The Cheshire Cat was my favorite, his tale, paws, face were literally floating in the air.
The only part I didn’t get was the Indian style Caterpillar - a man in a sparkly blue turban. But still it was quite original and unexpected, especially cute tiny Caterpillar’s legs.
All in all it’s a true Wonderland experience. In fact the Canadian version is not the only Alice ballet. The fist Alice production by English National Ballet was staged in 1995 and last seen in 2010 (to my knowledge). The music was derived from Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young (which should be a joy to listen). As a note the Canadian production is based on the original score by Joby Talbot.
A photo of the Queen of Hearts (English National Ballet) can be viewed here.
May be you’ve seen the English production?
Please share your Wonderland experience!