Bursting with brilliant colours and curious characters, The Australian Ballet’s award-winning, sell-out hit of 2017, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, returns to the stage at QPAC from 25 February.

Making its Brisbane debut at the Lyric Theatre, this groundbreaking production will take audiences on an unforgettable journey into Wonderland. A giant of contemporary ballet choreography, Christopher Wheeldon created Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on The Royal Ballet in 2011, and the production has enraptured audiences around the world. Wheeldon’s ballet is full of all the wit and charm of the original story by Lewis Carroll, as it follows Alice down the rabbit hole and into a topsy-turvy world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Vibrant sets and costumes by the Tony Award-winning designer Bob Crowley draw inspiration from Victorian-era toy theatres, vaudeville and needlepoint samplers. His vision of Wonderland includes dancing playing cards, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat manipulated by puppeteers, and a slinky Caterpillar with 16 feet in bejewelled pointe shoes. Crowley’s dazzling designs are realised through puppetry, optical illusion, immersive digital projections and intricately detailed costumes complete with wild wigs and masks. Joby Talbot’s cinematic score combines the familiar strains of 19th Century ballet melodies with theatrical flourishes like ticking clocks and the purring of the Cheshire Cat, and weaves around the action onstage as if springing from the mind of Alice herself.

The Australian Ballet’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland won the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet in 2018, and was nominated in five other categories, including Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design and Best Male and Female Dancer. With its delightful twists and turns, inventive visual design and vibrant original score, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is not to be missed.

The performance begins during a garden party at her family home, Alice enjoys the company of her crush, Jack, and the amusements of a family friend, Lewis Carroll. Her day takes a curious turn when Lewis transforms into a White Rabbit, and she tumbles down the rabbit hole after him. Alice finds herself in a world of wonder, as she embarks on a series of absurd, hilarious and at times frightening adventures. Jack has become the Knave of Hearts, relentlessly persecuted by the bad-tempered Queen of Hearts. Alice finds a magic cake which turns her into a giant. She swims in a lake of her own tears.

She encounters a mysterious Cheshire Cat, and then a bizarre tea party presided over by a Mad Hatter. She meets a mesmerising Caterpillar perched on a mushroom, and then, at last, is reunited briefly with the Knave in a magical garden. The tyrannical Queen of Hearts is torturing her subjects with dance demonstrations and a strange game of croquet, all the while blithely ordering the executions of those who displease her. The Knave is finally discovered and brought to trial, and mayhem ensues. Alice comes to the Knave’s defence and together they deliver a testimony that wins the hearts of all but the Queen. When Alice attempts to flee, the whole court comes crashing down around her. But the very next minute, Alice awakes.

Readers also enjoyed this story about Queensland Theatre’s latest production.