Alice in Wonderland (tour - Bishop's Stortford, Rhodes Arts Centre)
Our heroine (Julia Davies) establishes herself as a dreamer with her introductory solo, which then flows seamlessly into a pas de trois with her older sisters and then to the picnic with their patience-playing governess. The choreography is attractive to watch with neat pointe work and some intriguing lifts. Once Alice encounters the White Rabbit (Inês Ferreira) we are firmly in the world of fantasy. There's a clever use of portable doors as Alice manoevres her way into Wonderland.
Vincent Cabot is the most suave of Cowardesque caterpillars and Helena Casado Cortes a Cheshire Cat with very sharp claws. Act Two introduces us to the Mad Hatter's tea party with its perambulating tables (squared-off gingham tutus). Joseph Mackie-Graves was the limber Mad Hatter at the performance I saw, with Natalie Cawte as the tip-toeing Dormouse and Luca Varone as the March Hare.
Alice reaches the realm of the icy Queen of Hearts (Jessica Hill)
with its scandal-mongering roses, her fledgling romance with David
Brewer's Knave of Hearts is imperilled by the luscious tarts that
he has fed to her rather than to his Queen and she has to effect his
rescue by shattering and scattering the cards of her waking dream. With
Simon Paterson's eclectic score derived from some familiar and
other less obvious tunes, this is an excellent introduction to
classical ballet for young people. What's more, their elders could
enjoy its visual wit even more.