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“Alice In Wonderland” by the Alberta Ballet

Theatre Review by Lisa Lunney (From GayCalgary® Magazine, March 2017, page 14)
“Alice In Wonderland” by the Alberta Ballet

Albertans were treated to the return of Alice In Wonderland after almost a ten-year wait! In 2006, Alberta Ballet brought Alice In Wonderland to life with a performance that charmed audiences so much, they demanded its return.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Alberta Ballet, and a perfect time to bring an old favourite back to life to as the penultimate performance in an amazing season of dance and storytelling. Alice, is a treasured family favourite in Alberta Ballet’s repertoire. This performance is one of the many original creations British-born Edmund Stripe has choreographed for the Alberta Ballet. This is Stripe’s third rendition of his original ballet, rejuvenated for new generations of audiences and dancers alike.

The story of Alice In Wonderland has seen many colourful and sometimes nonsensical interpretations. With such a fantastical story, it is tricky to find the line between balance and mayhem—Stripe certainly hit the mark. It is refreshing to see Stripe’s adaptation pay such respect to the classic. All the distinct eccentrics of Wonderland remain true to the story.

Stripe’s selection of composition paired with enthralling and effective movement vocabulary brings the story to life. Alice is a heart-warming and fun performance filled with wit, humour and adventure. Unlike other Alice performances, this rendition was light on dialogue and more powerful because of it. It allowed audiences to really interact with the performers, and to have fun creating their own dialogue within their minds whilst watching the story unfold. Ballet is a one-of-a-kind medium; the lack of speech in performances creates a distinct form of storytelling, one that truly engages the viewer.

The costumes were absolutely stunning. Some were quite funny; Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum whilst others like the Red Queen were absolutely gorgeous. It was unique to see a show touch on every emotion, every visual and set the visual standards of modern ballet higher.

It was terrific to see a packed audience at the Northern Alberta Jubilee partaking in the fun. It warmed my heart to hear children laugh at the antics of the crazy twins, and swooning over how fabulous and entertaining Alice was to the audience. It is an understatement to say, Luna Sasaki wowed audiences with her performance of Alice Liddell. Across the board—every movie, cartoon, and ballet—Luna is now Alice to me. I cannot read the story without picturing her in my mind. So much hard work went into this production. Blood, sweat and tears from each dancer, costume maker and of course, the choreographers and instructors. The collective team for Alice went above and beyond and the finished production was one I hope to experience again in my life. This IS what ballet is. Over the top, fantastical and above all else—beautiful.

Alice In Wonderland is a performance that brings joy to audience members of all ages. A true adventure, for families and friends to embark on with the Alberta Ballet performers. An utterly phenomenal and flawless showcase of a classic story.

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Contributor Lisa Lunney |

Locale Edmonton |

Topic Alberta Ballet |Theatre |


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