It begins at a sunny garden party hosted by the Liddells in 1862 England.
Family friend, Lewis Carroll, is entertaining Alice and her two sisters with a story and magic tricks.
Jack the gardener, one of Alice’s friends, gives her a rose and, in exchange, she presents him with a jam tart.
But her mother accuses Jack of stealing the tart and sends him away.
As a curious variety of guests begin to arrive at the Liddell home, Carroll consoles Alice by taking her photograph.
He disappears behind the camera cloth, emerging as a white rabbit before disappearing into his camera bag.
The situation become curioser and curioser when Alice follows the rabbit and falls into a mysterious and wonderful world.
And so begins The Royal Ballet of Britain’s ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by internationally acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, artistic director and co-founder of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company.
Jointly commissioned with the National Ballet of Canada, Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland arrived on the stage in 2011 with a burst of colour, theatrical magic and inventive choreography.
It was The Royal Ballet’s first full-length work since 1995, and was instantly acclaimed a classic.
Joby Talbot’s score combines sweeping melodies, that hearken back to ballet scores of the 19th century, with contemporary effects.
Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks to bring Wonderland to life.
Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary characters down the rabbit hole: from the highly-strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious rendition of the famous Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty; to dancing playing cards; a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter.
There is a love narrative for Alice and the Knave of Hearts, and they dance a tender pas de deux at the close of Act II.
But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story – a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and an unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail.
And, in the midst of the chaos, Alice wakes up.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appears on the big screen at the Salmar Classic Theatre at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 21.
Tickets for the ballet are $22 for adults and $11 for children and are available at the Salmar Grand.