New Scottish Ballet production Alice promises quirky vision

Sophie Martin leads Ashley Page-choreographed and Antony McDonald-designed show

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New Scottish Ballet production Alice promises quirky vision

Her career at Scottish Ballet reads like a little girl’s daydream. Marie in the Nutcracker, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and the ultimate rags to riches heroine in Cinderella – Sophie Martin has played them all. And that’s before we even get to her stunning turn as the tragic teenager in Romeo and Juliet.

At the age of 26, Martin is no stranger to playing characters less mature than her, but for her latest role she’s going even younger. Ashley Page has cast Martin as the lead in Alice, his much anticipated re-working of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which will find her playing a child of ten. How easy is it to inhabit such youthful characters?

‘At first it was really hard,’ says Martin. ‘But I think you have to unlock something in your mind and just let it go, make it fresh and new again. To not only think about perfect technique, but to liberate yourself and find the freedom you used to have as a kid. I worked on that in the Christmas ballets, and then with Juliet, although she is a bit older, but I still had to play a younger girl, so it’s not something new for me.’

The beautiful French-born dancer has perfectly embodied all her roles to date, so there’s no reason why the character of Alice should be any different. What we can also expect from this brand new production is the wonderfully quirky vision of choreographer Ashley Page and designer Antony McDonald, who have included the character of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll’s real name) in the show.

‘Alice doesn’t fall into a hole, she falls into the lens of a camera,’ explains Martin. ‘Which is a reference to Lewis Carroll, because Charles Dodgson was a photographer before becoming a writer. And at the same time, she falls into his mind and his thoughts while writing the books, and he presents all the other characters to Alice.’

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 12–Sat 16 Apr; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 20–Sat 23 Apr

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