The Royal Ballet's biggest commission in recent years, Christopher Wheeldon's 'Alice' is visually stunning, thanks to designer Bob Crowley's OTT imagination. Dancewise, there's lots to recommend: the lovely Lauren Cuthbertson perfectly cast as curious Alice, a larger than life Zenaida Yanovsky stealing the show as a cruelly comedic Queen of Hearts and Kristen McNally's cleaver-clutching cook, to name but three. But the episodic nature of the book makes creating a full-length arc nigh-on impossible and the show is full of frenetic scene changing and busy stage business and not so much actual dancing. Bowling headlong into family entertainment is a bold move for Wheeldon, who's best known for his tasteful, abstract neo-classicism, and while there are some witty ballet-insider spoofs and quotes, it's a little disappointing not to see Wheeldon's choreographic voice come through more clearly. Very enjoyable nonetheless, and worth a visit for the costumes alone.
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