BWW Review: ALICE (IN WONDERLAND) Opens the Kansas City Ballet Season

BWW Review:  ALICE (IN WONDERLAND) Opens the Kansas City Ballet Season

Alice fell down the rabbit hole and into the hearts of Kansas City on Friday October 10 at the opening and Kansas City premiere of Alice (in Wonderland) produced by the Kansas City Ballet Company. Opening the 57th season for the Kansas City Ballet the full-length ballet is a delightful interpretation of Lewis Carroll's, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Alice (in Wonderland) premiered in 2012 with the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and the ballet company provides costumes and scenery for the Kansas City production. The animalistic movements of the dancers, under the direction of Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre, are graceful and natural convincing the audience of their characters. The subtle contortions of the caterpillar, performed by Whitney Huell, before turning to a beautiful butterfly are as marvelous as the costume of the butterfly itself.

Liz Vandal brings her experience with Cirque du Soleil to the colorful costume designs of the show. Matthew Pierce wrote an all-new score, performed by the Kansas City Symphony with Ramona Pansegrau conducting. Each aspect adds to the enchanting beauty that flows gracefully across the stage.

The program in two acts begins with Alice, portrayed by Laura Hunt, at home with her chaotic family. Alice goes on a boat ride and picnic with Lewis Carrol, played by Logan Pachciarz, where she falls down the rabbit hole. Let the adventure begin as she comes across the animals and characters behind the keyhole.

Hunt is marvelous in her movements, using facial expressions to convince the audience of her youthful age and adding touches of humor to the plot. I actually missed a couple of movements of other dancers, my attention frozen by the expressions she displayed at what was occurring on stage. She has appeared at the Kansas City Ballet in The Nutcracker, Dracula, and the title role in Cinderella. Hunt plays Alice at the matinee on October 12, and performances on the 17th and 18th. On the other production times, Sarah Chun takes on the leading role.

Angelina Sansone magnificently takes on duo roles as Alice's mother and as the sinister Queen of Hearts. Liange Fu wonderfully takes on the roles of the father, the splendidly costumed Cheshire Cat, and the King of Hearts. Sansone and Fu perform at the matinee on the 12th and performances on the 17th and 18th. Danielle Bausinger and Michael Davis take over on the other production dates.

Several scenes are mesmerizing the dance with the large and small doors, as Alice appears to grow several feet above the stage, as the flamingos dance with four little flamingos and baby flamingos, the previously mentioned dance of the caterpillar, and the queens party and croquet game with the painting of the roses.

Alice (in Wonderland) is a hypnotizing tale to begin the new season for the ballet. Patrons familiar with the ballet will marvel at its wonder, while those new to ballet may find themselves entranced by the elaborate production.

Alice (in Wonderland) continues at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts through October 19. Purchase tickets at 816-931-2232 or visit the Kansas City Ballet website. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet.

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From This Author Steve Wilson

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