HD Video Viewing of Premier Performance: July 31, 2020
This subterranean yet very real-to-life fantasy is based on the classic novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This riveting dance performance on the theme of Lewis Carroll’s famous story is a ZooNation production.
As a Roundhouse and Royal Ballet presentation, this video production is presented in alliance with the Royal Opera House, London. It offers a captivating melange of emotional colors and tonalities. The audience experiences each character’s psychic state, from deep turmoil to catatonia to charismatic charm and contagious elation.
Emotions never plateau, from start to finish. As the story begins, Ernest, a young psychotherapist at the Institute for Extremely Normal Behavior, is immersed in his work. Among his diverse and eccentric patients are the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee and the high-strung Queen of Hearts.
All of these unique individuals claim to be from a place called Wonderland. While getting acquainted with these patients, Ernest begins to question the definition of ‘normal’ and whether or not it really matters.
Dazzling Collage of Dance Modalities
This high-energy, dazzling production includes a wide array of dance modes. Different styles of dance and movement include hip-hop, break-dance, boogie, bee-bop, disco, ballroom and touches of everything before and since.
Classic dance patterns and mime are also basic elements. There is truly something to engage and fascinate everyone in this production, and everyone can benefit from its kinetic authenticity.
As the Story Unwinds
The Mad Hatter manages to escape from the evil doctors of the institute. Discovering a rather elaborate, but disheveled and abandoned tea table in the woods, he sees promise in the setting. Even in its state of disarray with aging tea and sandwiches, it has charm and allure.
The Hatter decides to transform this venue into ‘Wonderland’ where his friends and admirers can gather. Here, “nonsense makes more sense than sense,” and all are accepted and “celebrated” for what they are. Hatter’s friends, including Alice and the Queen of Hearts, arrive in Wonderland as recent escapees from the evil clinic.
Without doubt, the most severely in need of immediate assistance is Ernest, the young psychoanalyst. He is in a deeply depressed, catatonic state and must be revived, rehabilitated and rejuvenated by his Wonderland friends.
Through their wholehearted efforts involving extraordinary athletic and acrobatic dance, this eclectic group works their magic. By combining soulful, enlivening music and boundless energetic motion they bring Ernest back to life in artful, often outlandish, style.
This skillfully coordinated effort includes upbeat, heart-pumping dance, syncopated mime and seamless, slow-motion movement. Clinic doctors appear to denounce Wonderland as a fraud. Yet the empowered inhabitants chase them away with a rousing, endless pronouncement that “nothing is normal.”
Soon after, the clinic’s head doctor, Dr. Albert Longbottom, arrives to repent for his past maltreatment of the Wonderland members. He also reveals that he has since left the evil clinic. The reformed physician is accepted into Wonderland.
He and members of the audience then take part in the exhilarating final dance number. Wonderland and its celebratory members prevail along with its leading characters: Mad Hatter, Alice, Ernest and the Queen of Hearts.
Outstanding Cast of Characters
Principal dancers radiate exemplary character, style, dynamics, grace and comic expertise throughout this captivating performance. The entire cast offer splendid technique, dramatic energy and magnetic charm. Praise also goes to the debonair woodland rodent in the teacup for his hilarious, slightly bawdy, attempts at wooing Alice.
All considered, this is quite an ingenious, contemporary interpretation in creative, innovative dance of the ageless theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The in-depth display of character, splendor, dazzle and delight of this empowering dance production from ZooNation is endless and inspiring.
Its extraordinary explorations, revelations, and innate, endless energies are here stay, mesmerizing all extremely fortunate future audiences.
Ernest: Tommy Franzén
The Mad Hatter: Issac ‘Turbo’ Baptiste
The Queen of Hearts: Teneisha Bonner
Alice: Lizzie Gough
Tweedle Dum: Rowen Hawkins
Tweedle Dee: Ross Sands
The March Hare: Shaun Smith
The Cheshire Cat: Duwane Taylor
The White Rabbit: Corey Culverwell
Company — ZooNation: the Kate Prince Company
Director and Writer: Kate Prince
Choreography: Members of ZooNation
Music: Josh Cohen and DJ Walde
Lyrics: Kate Prince, Josh Cohen and DJ Walde
Set and Costume Designs: Ben Stones
Lighting Design: Andy Murrell
Sound Design: Martin Adams and Thomas Thompson
Excerpts from Earlier Productions of the Royal Ballet
Enjoy viewing these sensational excerpts from an extraordinary Royal Ballet production:
Alice (Lauren Cuthbertson) encounters the Mad Hatter (Steven McRae) in Christopher Wheeldon’s curious production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for The Royal Ballet, 2013.
‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ – Royal Ballet Production with Music by Joby Talbot and Choreography by Christoper Wheeldon, 2013.