Photography: Lightbox Photography
The Australian Ballet gave us a sneak peak of their 2017 season of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland©. This show will be a sell out and tickets go on sale Thursday 8 December.
Created by one of the world’s greatest living choreographers, Christopher Wheeldon, this spectacular ballet translates the wit and charm of the original tale by Lewis Carroll into a world of colour, fun and fantasy. Extraordinary choreography, a wildly imaginative set and inventive costumes will transport audiences into a world of absurdity and pure wonder. The Australian Ballet presents Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© at Arts Centre Melbourne from 12 to 30 September 2017, before taking the production to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 5 to 22 December 2017.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© was created by Wheeldon on The Royal Ballet in 2011, and has since enthralled audiences the world over. Arguably the world’s highest profile contemporary choreographer, Wheeldon is best known in Australia for cutting-edge works like After the Rain© and the rapid-fire DGV©: Danse a grande vitesse. In this highly entertaining work, he reimagines the beloved storybook classic using ballet’s traditional structures, interspersed with dramatic twists and comedic turns for a modern edge.
Designer Bob Crowley‘s thrillingly creative 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, masks and intricately detailed and vibrant costumes. Highlights of the design 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.
The award-winning choreographer sums up the classic tale as a hero’s journey. “Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole and follows the Knave to try to clear his name. In the end, she rightfully stands up to the Queen of Hearts and takes the fall for stealing the tart. She is an honest girl who believes in the truth. She also discovers love for the first time which makes it both a coming of age story, as well as a whimsical journey of great adventures and discovery.”
Commissioned especially, Joby Talbot‘s theatrical score sweeps the action along and reflects Alice’s responses to the strange events unfolding. All the romance and theatricality of a 19th-century ballet combine with more contemporary sounds, to create a witty and melodic score.
“Alice’s journey is quite a rollercoaster ride. She shrinks, grows, nearly drowns, is threatened with capital punishment, and rescues a baby from the cooking pot. All these adventures have to be expressed musically and I have used every trick I can think of to chart her extraordinary adventures,” adds Joby Talbot.
The Australian Ballet’s Music Director and Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon, says Talbot’s score is regarded as one of the finest full-length pieces ever created for ballet. “This score is brilliant theatre, with incredibly creative use of colour. It is a work of real genius, and I don’t use the word lightly. From the moment it starts until its end, this score is absolutely Wonderland,” explains Fraillon.
Choreography Christopher Wheeldon
Music Joby Talbot
Orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Joby Talbot
Scenario Nicholas Wright
Set and costume design Bob Crowley
Lighting design Natasha Katz
Projection designs Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington
Original sound design Andrew Bruce
Staging Christopher Saunders
Puppet concept and design Toby Olié
Magic Consultant Paul Kieve
The production was commissioned and first performed by The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. The Kenneth R Reed Fund generously supports the recreation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© for The Australian Ballet.