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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, May 2015

It is difficult to convey in words just how magical and enjoyable this ballet is, particularly Joby Talbot’s superb score. Rarely have I heard a ballet score, particularly a modern one, so absolutely enchanting yet so perfectly suited to its subject. From first note to last, Talbot’s music keeps the mind engaged and perfectly captures the spirit of each scene while simultaneously proving perfect for the dancers.

Time will tell if this spectacular production can gain a permanent hold, but I for one am rooting for it. I have seldom enjoyed a ballet, particularly a modern one, so much in my life. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, December 2012

An entrancing, imaginative new look at the familiar story. Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is brilliant, the costumes glitter and the special effects amaze. Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, on the brink of womanhood, mesmerizes and Jody Talbot’s colourful percussive music fits very well. © 2012 MusicWeb International

Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, August 2012

TALBOT, J.: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (NTSC) OA1056D
TALBOT, J.: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7090D

What a treat this is—such an imaginative treatment of a favourite story. There are extraordinary, eccentric sets and special effects; colourful, larger-than-life, argumentative characters and extraordinary costumes. The use of video projections, supplementing stage-set mechanicals provides the necessary magical transformations including Alice’s journey down into Wonderland, and her sudden changes of size to fit through a series of doorways. Equally awesome are the realisations of Wonderland’s menagerie including the giant Cheshire Cat, its realistic supple movements accomplished by a team of animators using a similar sort of mechanical magic that made War Horse so realistic.

Lauren Cuthbertson, as Alice, is excellent, her every movement suggesting the actions and emotions of this curious, spirited pre-adolescent.

Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is very imaginative and fitting for every character. Besides Alice, the eccentric contortions and threatening figures created for the Red Queen—Zenaida Yanowsky constantly twisting in seemingly impossible positions—underline her unfortunate disposition beautifully. There is room also for the buffoonery of The Duchess splendidly played by Simon Russell Beale…The corps de ballet shine, their playing-cards scene quite ingenious and splendidly danced.

The DVD is available in a Blu-ray alternative format and there is a very helpful documentary, ‘Being Alice’, that traces the development of the ballet and covers its choreography, set and costume designs and lighting.

An entrancing new look at the story of Alice in Wonderland which will certainly figure in my 2012 recordings of the year choice. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Kina Poon
Dance Magazine, April 2012

If you can’t make it to London this month for The Royal Ballet’s reprisal of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there’s good news—Opus Arte has released a DVD of Christopher Wheeldon’s whimsical, eye-popping ballet. Co-produced with the National Ballet of Canada, Alice enjoyed sold-out runs at its premieres last year in Toronto and London, where filming took place last March. Lauren Cuthbertson, onstage for nearly the entire two-hour ballet, shines as Alice, with her elegant extensions, buoyant jumps, and smooth renversés.

Nicholas Wright, who wrote the scenario, has made some changes to Lewis Caroll’s brilliant story in order to give the plot some romantic intrigue. Alice and Jack, the gardener’s son, are in love, but separated by Alice’s mother (who tranforms into the Queen of Hearts after the fall down the rabbit hole). The outstanding Sergei Polunin as Jack/The Knave of Hearts isn’t given much to do—a shame, especially because he has since left the Royal. Other characters prove more memorable, including the crazed, tap-dancing Mad Hatter from Steven McRae and the White Rabbit, embodied with jittery precision by Edward Watson. Zenaida Yanowsky takes the cake for her campy Queen of Hearts, with a pasted grin that verges on a bared-teeth growl. Wheeldon’s send-up of the Rose Adagio for her and four quivering cards is a high point. Matching the Queen’s bloodlust is the Cook, Kristen McNally, who stomps and slashes her shining cleaver with relish.

While the set design by Bob Crowley (who also designed the costumes) and the projections by John Driscoll and Gemma Carrington bring many of Lewis’ classic scenes to life—Alice’s falling down the rabbit hole, her monstrous growth spurt, then shrinking—they can unfortunately overshadow the dancing. But there are moments where dance and design strike the right balance, including an unrelenting petit allégro for the trio of gardeners attempting to paint the roses red, and the disembodied Cheshire Cat, manuevered by a team of dancers. The two pas de deux for Cuthbertson and Polunin are full of Wheeldon’s signature unfolding lifts. The choreographer punctuates the couple’s budding romance with quick changes of direction and shifts of weight, both tender and joyous.

With an enchanting score by Joby Talbot, this stylish Alice is one for both young and old. © 2012 Dance Magazine

James Reel
Fanfare, March 2012

TALBOT, J.: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (NTSC) OA1056D
TALBOT, J.: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7090D

This must be a stunning show on stage, with its down-the-rabbit-hole video projections and inventive use of video as part of the backdrop and even action in a few other scenes; it translates surprisingly well to television. But the best reason to watch this at home rather than from a distance in the theater is that we are able to see that Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice is not only a fine and indefatigable dancer (never leaving the stage for the ballet’s nearly 70-minute first act), but a nuanced actor.

Talbot’s score, here and throughout, is colorful and cinematic, making inventive use of percussion and of recurring motifs, and at all times is finely meshed with Wheeldon’s choreography. Barry Wordsworth leads the orchestra in a performance of gusto and enchantment.

On Blu-ray, the picture quality is notable for its warmth of colors and clarity of detail, with the DTS surround audio providing the orchestra fine richness and depth.

In every way this is a wonderful release. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Michael Mark
American Record Guide, March 2012

A fanciful look at the Lewis Carroll classic that…doesn’t throw in bits from Through the Looking Glass. Viewers don’t have to be ballet buffs to enjoy this show. The colorful sets…lighting, and scenery and the very magical effects are clever.

Lauren Cuthbertson is a fascinating-to-view Alice…Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has cleverly used his dancers to stress, sometimes joltingly, the conflict between what is real and illusions that appear to be just as real. Classic ballet steps and non-ballet steps are a heady mixture…Ukrainian Sergei Polunin in his two roles does the romantic and comic very strikingly. Every dancer on stage is a delight to watch, and the fanciful goings-on don’t detract from the fact that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland contains dancing that only a company the caliber of London’s Royal Ballet could offer… © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Joel Kasow
Fanfare, March 2012

TALBOT, J.: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (NTSC) OA1056D
TALBOT, J.: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7090D

Joby Talbot has done brilliantly, providing danceable music where required, atmospheric music that is also accepting of choreography, the occasional parody; for the big garden dance at the end of act I he is clearly no stranger to the music selected by John Lanchberry for the delightful Tales of Beatrix Potter. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Raymond J Walker
MusicWeb International, February 2012

Particularly stunning is the Playing Cards scene. Choreography and costumes strike just the right note. A clever routine with a segmented Cheshire Cat allows believable animation.

As one might expect, the dancing is up to the exacting standards of the corps with a Covent Garden reputation. The problem of having Alice change size was well contrived and Lauren Cuthbertson’s acting is excellent.

The orchestra plays well under the secure direction of Barry Wordsworth… © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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