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Joby Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Wordsworth, Royal Ballet [DVD]

Album Summary

>Talbot, Joby : Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Lewis Carroll's ever-popular story provides the basis for Christopher Wheeldon's spectacular new work, starring Royal Ballet Principal Lauren Cuthbertson. Captivating designs by Bob Crowley, an engaging and passionate score by Joby Talbot, and Wheeldon's breathtaking choreography combine to produce in the words of The Times "spectacular family entertainment brought to life with enormous theatrical verve.'' ''...a monumental achievement. This production has to be the best dance adaptation of Lewis Carroll's beloved children's classic on the planet.' www.theglobeandmail.com

"Mr. Talbot’s score is the trump card for “Alice.” It’s a dazzling array of melodies and shimmering percussion, usefully atmospheric and dancey, yet sophisticated enough to feel like more than a mere support. It’s one of the many things that makes “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” watchable and enjoyable. The choreography is all of that too. But this is Christopher Wheeldon. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to want more." -The New York Times

"With Alice he's had to pull off the magic trick of being both populist and smart.It's a measure of his success, however, that watching the production lets us forget the hype. He and his team have created an Alice whose wit, speed and invention have lifted the whole story ballet genre into the 21st century... First credit has to go to Joby Talbot's score. Driven by a huge percussion section, with weird and wayward textures, vividly descriptive melodies and a shimmer of emotion, this is music that is not only sophisticated, but also danceable... if this Alice scores as a genuine company ballet, it's a special triumph for Lauren Cuthbertson in the title role. Required to range from the hoydenish to the blithe, she rises to it with a performance that is alert, funny and deliciously un-twee. This Alice looks set to become a classic." -The Guardian

American Record Guide
A fanciful look at the Lewis Carroll classic that... doesn't throw in bits from Through the Looking Glass. Viewers don't have to be ballet buffs to enjoy this show. The colorful sets... lighting, and scenery and the very magical effects are clever.

Talbot's score, here and throughout, is colorful and cinematic, making inventive use of percussion and of recurring motifs, and at all times is finely meshed with Wheeldon's choreography. Barry Wordsworth leads the orchestra in a performance of gusto and enchantment.In every way this is a wonderful release.

Joby Talbot has done brilliantly, providing danceable music where required, atmospheric music that is also accepting of choreography, the occasional parody; for the big garden dance at the end of act I he is clearly no stranger to the music selected by John Lanchberry for the delightful Tales of Beatrix Potter.

MusicWeb International
Particularly stunning is the Playing Cards scene. Choreography and costumes strike just the right note. A clever routine with a segmented Cheshire Cat allows believable animation.

MusicWeb International
An entrancing, imaginative new look at the familiar story. Christopher Wheeldon's choreography is brilliant, the costumes glitter and the special effects amaze. Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, on the brink of womanhood, mesmerizes and Jody Talbot's colorful percussive music fits very well.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 208 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM 2.0, DTS 5.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish


A Chaotic Extravaganza of Wealth and Theatrical Achievement
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, with music by Joby Talbot, is the Royal Ballet's latest attempt at a legendary, new story ballet. Designed by Bob Crowley, the work is visually dazzling and constantly chaotic, in terms of set design. Unfortunately, what the ballet lacks is the stable and classical choreographic aesthetic of traditional story ballets. When the ballet rests on its choreography, it falls flat and unexciting. What makes the ballet unique and interesting is the stunning constant set changes and the sheer diversity of the dancers and sets. It's entertaining, yes, but lacks the once-cherished cleanness, organization, and togetherness of Petipa-esque ballets. However, the effort made on this complicated and detailed story is admirable.
The music is a modern twist on classical, ballet music with several rhythms and melodies, making for a very enjoyable soundtrack. Notable dancers include Sergei Polunin as Jack/The Knave of Hearts, Edward Watson as Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit, Zenaida Yanowsky as Mother/The Queen of Hearts, and Steven McRae as a tap-dancing Magician/The Mad Hatter.

This ballet is visually stunning and interesting to watch, though falls flat in terms of choreography. I'd recommend this for someone more interested in the bravura display of theatrical wealth, with less inclination towards classical artistry.
Submitted on 11/20/11 by danrubin06 
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Works Details

>Talbot, Joby : Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Performers: Laura Cuthbertson (Dancer); Steven McRae (Dancer); Sergei Polunin (Dancer); Edward Watson (Dancer); Zenaida Yanowsky (Dancer)
  • Conductor: Barry Wordsworth
  • Ensemble: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 2011