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ZooNation’s ‘The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ – Roundhouse and Royal Ballet

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.

 

Cast Members

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

Creatives

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.

 

Ellen Gilmer
Ellen Gilmer Author
Ellen L. Gilmer is a published author, speaker and performance artist living in New York City. She has spoken and performed internationally and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. She has published two books with the Pentland Press Ltd. and Carnegie Publishing Ltd. in England: La Belle Famille, a novel, and Free Style Run of the Heart, a book of dramatic monologues with poetic songs. Her third book, published with Amazon.com, is entitled, Song Poems from the Cumulus Cloud and Creative Essays. She is also an active KDP Amazon publisher (for Kindle books). As an IPA member for many years, Ellen has now joined the IMPress staff to share her writing talents with our readers.
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Ellen Gilmer
Ellen Gilmer Author
Ellen L. Gilmer is a published author, speaker and performance artist living in New York City. She has spoken and performed internationally and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. She has published two books with the Pentland Press Ltd. and Carnegie Publishing Ltd. in England: La Belle Famille, a novel, and Free Style Run of the Heart, a book of dramatic monologues with poetic songs. Her third book, published with Amazon.com, is entitled, Song Poems from the Cumulus Cloud and Creative Essays. She is also an active KDP Amazon publisher (for Kindle books). As an IPA member for many years, Ellen has now joined the IMPress staff to share her writing talents with our readers.
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