Confession time, Alice in Wonderland has always, hands down, been my favorite tale. Adult, child you name it, it’s my favorite. Look, I’m weird and to those who haven’t met me, trust me, I am. I’ve always been weird and for most of my sentient life, quite aware of this. It has led to feelings of estrangement in and isolation. Alice gave me two things, comfort that others have felt this way and hope that someday I’d find my place in wonderland. With those caveats, here’s my review of Alice in Wonderland, performed by the Canadian National Ballet.
Alice in Wonderland, performed by the Canadian National Ballet.
Let me start off by saying, there have only been a few times in my life where I have gone into a situation in which I had preexisting expectations and upon experiencing the event have the expectations not only lived up to but then exceeded. This was one of those times and I can’t handle it.
Here I am at half time trying to contain myself, only succeeding in looking like the March Hare at the Hatter’s Tea Party.
I knew this was something special the second that the March Hare grabbed Alice and pulled her head first down the giant party cake. A full stage sized screen dropped and a projected Vertigo-esq tunnel took us traveling with a puppet of Alice in the center of the screen through her tumble-down the rabbit hole. When she landed the real dancer of Alice took the puppets place and she was surrounded by a wall of black doors. After many attempts at finding a door on the wall to open a floating small door appeared and “floated” around her, landing center stage (with the aid of a member of the stage crew dressed all in black). Alice burst through the door, the lights were lifted, the orchestra started playing wildly, confetti was dropped on the audience and the flower dancers burst out the side doors and danced in the audience. Unable to get all the way through the door Alice was forced to go back and my face already started to hurt from smiling.
As evidenced by the below picture, Miss Eyana, Miss Sophie and I had incredible seats to see this production so nothing could get by us.
Yeah we splurged. Soooooo worth it.
The costumes, the sets, the props were amazing. Designs consistent and colorful but most of all right. Nothing ever felt like a one-off or out-of-place, Everything was cohesive and meshed to perfection.
Some are going to say that the dancing wasn’t up to the level that it should have been and to that I say, “Ummm, hello! It’s a children’s ballet.” What this production did was make ballet accessible, digestible and enjoyable to the populous and getting young children’s imaginations to later become possible dancers or worse patrons of the arts. Terrible. I saw Swan Lake when the Bolshoi when it came to Los Angeles and it was a yawn fest. I’m sorry but in spite of all the costumes the attempt to disguise the technical perfection as the art of dance was a fail. The Prima tried her hardest but I just felt as if I was watching someone doing fouettes in class. I was so happy to see love on that stage. The cast was a family and it was so evident. Even the players that were stuck wheeling around in the perfect cone bushes took a bow and rightfully so. What a production.