Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - ROH

Rating 7.8
Streamer Other
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 130 mins

Get in the true spirit of a stay-at-home Christmas with this streamed performance of the Royal Opera House’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Can you remember the anticipation? The lights dim, the chatter stops, and everyone around you waits in silence for those curtains to finally lift. Ah, the theatre, we miss you and your cramped seats, incredible orchestras and those all-important (and extortionate) interval G&Ts. Alas, 2020 had other plans, instead preferring us to settle for our own shower singing, and watching the Hamilton film over and over.

Well, we might be able to see the year out with a socially-distanced, Covid-safe bang. Whilst we can’t quite offer you the glistening atmosphere of the Royal Opera House, we can deliver the talent. They’re back with a streamed performance, and ready to take you right down the rabbit hole. Alice is here, en pointe and ready to take us on a dreamlike journey to wonderland.

Dancers with rouged cheeks, chins and foreheads, plaster white face paint and gargoyle green hair prance about to Joby Talbot’s bouncy score, in a plucky performance of the classic tale. Add in some rainbow bright costumes and dramatic headpieces, and well…it’s as camp as Christmas.

With all these weird and wonderful costumes, and an equally eccentric story to follow, we dip a (perfectly pointed) toe into the pool of the bizarre. The dancing, whilst consistently eye-catching, is sometimes frantic, and hard to follow. But this is made up for by the amazing animations which are projected on the back of the stage, which add to this wholly hallucinatory experience. Particularly when Alice learns the meaning of ‘curiosity killed the cat’, by falling down the rabbit hole.

Luckily, the cat killed isn’t the Cheshire one.

The press – the lucky hatters – got to see this in the flesh back in 2017. The Times’ Donald Hutera says this performance is “something of a modern-day classic,” both “lyrical and inventive,” whilst admitting it is slightly “nutty.” Vera Liber in The British Theatre Guide admires the weird aesthetics, saying “it’s very pleasing on the eye,” and makes for “a cheery antidote.” The Independent’s Zo Anderson isn’t a fan of the eccentric additions, saying that as a result it’s “more spectacle than ballet.” 

Maybe so, but we think it’s a great bit of fun for all the family.

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