Review | WA Ballet brings wonder to His Majesty’s with ‘Alice’

ALICE (in wonderland) | His Majesty’s Theatre | 21 May 2022 | ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Making a return through the looking glass is West Australian Ballet’s ALICE (in wonderland), an award-winning production created by the Hong Kong Ballet’s Artistic Director, Septime Webre.

Staying true to Lewis Carroll’s historic book, audiences will be dazzled by masterful costume design, props, puppetry, scintillating orchestral marvels, and all before a most mad tea party!

Act I observe a plethora of colour, music, and movement. The company’s costume department never disappoint with intrinsic designs that spark wonder in audiences of all ages, aided by the keen eye of Liz Vandal (Cirque du Soleil), Costume Designer.

At times hyper-stylised, and exuding pantomime energy, West Australian Ballet’s ALICE engages catchments like musical theatre, making it a treat for young people. Carina Roberts and Glenda Garcia Gomez as Alice and the Queen of Hearts respectively have extraordinary presence within their characters and provided a theatrical performance from start to finish.

One of the standout pieces of ALICE was the fly system incorporated into the choreography. Installed this season by Las Vegas’ Flying by Foy, world leader sin aerography training and effects who have designed sequences for artists like Beyonce, and the Billy Elliot productions – their rigging for ALICE includes a tandem bicycle ridden by Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the iconic eat me/drink me growth scene by ALICE during her first moments in Wonderland.

“Our dancers will fly, both in their jumps and metres in the air … this is more than a ballet.” says Aurelian Scannella, Artistic Director of the West Australian Ballet.

Along with the already impressive inclusion of Puppet Designer, Eric Van Wyk, comes the gigantic creation of the Jabberwocky. The five-metre-long puppet is operated by seven dancers as it threatens Alice and her friends in Act II.

Special shout out to the props and lighting team, who had to manage 166 props and over 200 lighting cues for the two-hour performance. Jack Whiter’s performance as the Duchess was beautifully dark, and camp, as was Isaak Westhead’s delivery of the Joker.

ALICE would not be the same without mention of the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, with Ludovico Di Ubaldo and Matthew Lehmann respectively. Strong, flamboyant, and captivating, they brought to life Carroll’s very essence to the stage – with Di Ubaldo even playing the creator himself in the Prologue!

ALICE moves to the sound of its own trumpet, whilst still honouring the nonsensical nature of Lewis Carroll’s original works. It is a classic ballet, that incorporates elements of contemporary themes. The many talented young dancers on the stage enthralled audiences and brought wonder and awe.

Perhaps not the best time of year to have remounted ALICE, with the production holds ties to the Holiday season; however, families of all sizes will enjoy the magic and hilarity of ALICE (in wonderland) this May – and you’d be mad to miss it!

Tickets to the production are on sale now.

Joshua Hall Haines

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