Opera review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet pulls out all of the stops for this magical reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale

When Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland debuted last year it was the Royal Ballet’s first full-length new ballet for more than a decade.

If this sold-out first revival is anything to go by, it’s sure to become a core part of the Royal Opera House programme.

Joby Talbot’s fine, slightly cinematic score and Christopher Wheeldon’s absorbing choreography bring Lewis Carroll’s famous story to life. The costumes and set-designs are all wonderfully inventive and the production overflows with quirky characters and magical creatures. Steven McCrae delivers a lively performance as the tap dancing Mad Hatter while Eric Underwood’s Caterpillar finds an innovative use for his harem.

In the title role, Lauren Cuthbertson is full of giddy confusion and wonderment at the curious goings-on in Wonderland. Federico Bonelli’s Knave of Hearts overflows with mischievous energy, but it’s Laura Morera who delivers an outstanding comic turn as the Queen of Hearts.


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At times, particularly in Act One, the narrative threatens to overtake the ballet, but overall the production works very well.

There is no denying it’s aimed at a younger audience – and what a truly magical treat it is for the kids – but there’s more than enough here for adult ballet lovers to enjoy too.

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It’s returns only for the current run but it’s only a matter of time before Alice and her madcap chums return for more magnificently graceful nonsense. Keep an eye out for the 2013 programme.

* Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is at The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, WC2, until April 16

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