Alice in Wonderland Royal Ballet Live streamed event 2014




A live streamed event is a bit of a hybrid - a cross between watching a film and being at an actual live performance. 

This performance of The Royal Ballet's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, was taking place at London's Royal Opera House while being live streamed to over 1200 venues world-wide. 

The ballet was visually stunning, with aspects that were whimsical, magical and sometimes even grotesque.  Sarah Lamb, in the title role of Alice, danced her role with the sweetness, innocence and confusion of the young girl who suddenly found herself in a very strange new world.  This was a very demanding role, as she was on stage almost the whole time, and her performance was faultless. The other principal female role, The Queen of Hearts, was danced by Zenaida Yanowsky with a great deal of humour as an almost maniacal creature who ruled over her kingdom (and her weak husband) with the constant threat of executing anyone who disobeyed her. 

All the familiar characters and scenes from Lewis Carroll's book were here, including the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter's Tea Party, The Cheshire Cat, and the croquet game with flamingoes and hedgehogs in the place of mallets and balls.  Clever use of projected backgrounds gave the effect of Alice falling and growing taller and smaller as she ate and drank various potions. 

The music by Joby Talbot fitted the mood of the storyline perfectly, and Bob Crowley's designs were just right too.    Aside from the two principal females, the standout performance of the night was from Steven McRae as a tap-dancing Mad Hatter.

Seeing this as a live streamed event rather than live had its positives and negatives.  On the positive side, the close ups allow you to see the dancers'  facial expressions and gestures much more clearly, which adds to the understanding of the story.  On the negative side, there isn't the connection between audience and performers that you feel when you are actually there in the theatre, and the use of close up means that you may be missing what is happening on other parts of the stage.   

One small point which slightly spoiled things was that a trailer for the DVD of the ballet was shown during the interval, which showed scenes from Act III that we hadn't seen yet.   

Overall though, this was a hugely enjoyable ballet, and having seen it live streamed, I would love to see it live on stage if it ever comes to Edinburgh.      

Review by Lisa Sibbald


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