The Queen Of Hearts Rules Wonderland In The Royal Ballet’s ‘Alice’

“Yanowsky’s masterful artistry makes her a show-stopper and a crowd-pleaser!”

Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ graces the Royal Opera House’s main stage this Christmas as the Royal Ballet performs it in a third season since it’s creation in 2011.

Clad in purple, Sarah Lamb tackled the titular role. Her strong technique and elegantly childish appearance make for the perfect Alice as she dances her way through Wonderland. Jack/The Knave of Hearts was portrayed by Federico Bonelli and while not necessarily the most demanding of lead male roles, Bonelli was able to dazzle the audience with high jumps and multiple turns.  Although he partnered Lamb wonderfully, one could only wish that Lauren Cuthbertson had not suffered an injury that left her unable to perform this Autumn Season.

Alexander Campell as the tap-dancing Mad Hatter was a pleasure to watch, albeit larger and more dramatic movements would drastically improve his performance as the whimsical character.

Meanwhile, trying to solicit a response to his question, “Who are you?”, Eric Underwood’s dances fluidly around Lamb before being joined by a train of ballerinas hidden beneath cloth to render the appearance of a long caterpillar.

Luca Acri, James Hay and Solomon Golding danced in near-perfect synchronicity as the trio of rose-painting gardeners through complex pirouettes and quick, clipped jumps.  Their spectacular performance should not go without mention.

However, the highlight of the show came in Act III when the Queen of Hearts, portrayed by Zenaida Yanowsky, finally stepped out of her red encasementto perform the Tart Adage. It is “a parody on the Sleeping Beauty Rose Adage,” says Ballet Master Christopher Saunders. “It’s meant to be an affectionate tribute to this great scene in the Sleeping Beauty,” Wheeldon states.

Zenaida Yanowsky
Zenaida Yanowsky bows for the audience

Yanowsky is able to bring the Queen of Hearts to life in her performance, creating an eccentric woman who believes she is the best dancer of them all. Laughing, Yanowsky gives her a solid 2/10.  Her Tart Adage elicited roars of laughter and had the audience in a pleased uproar long before the music had ended.

Without a doubt, Yanowsky’s masterful artistry makes her a show-stopper and a crowd-pleaser!  Her theatricality does not go by unnoticed for even in moments where you should be and want to watching another dancer perform, you feel drawn to watch her as she subtly adds to the atmosphere of the onstage world.

If you go for only one reason, make it Yanowsky’s Queen of Hearts!

However, while ‘Alice’ may incorporate dance of varying styles and offer several humourous moments, the ballet introduces a multitude of characters whose variations are cut short, if even in existence at all.  The graphics and special effects incorporated in the production are overwhelming at points and the choreographing sometimes struggles to be seen beneath them. They were, though, were used skilfully to fill the gaps as sets changed.

‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’ runs until January 16, 2015.  For tickets visit the Royal Opera House Website.


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