I went to the fabulous (or frabjous as Lewis Carroll would say) Alice Underground at Waterloo Vaults a few weeks ago. If you are in any way a fan of Alice in Wonderland or immersive theatre or just bonkers nights out in London then this experience is unmissable!
Alice Underground – The Show
Les Enfants Terribles’ have brought their Olivier award nominated Alice’s Adventures Underground back to the Waterloo Vaults this summer. You will fall down, down, down the rabbit hole and make one or two choices that set you on a 90 minute adventure. This might be a different adventure from your companions as there are four different experiences to be had.
You will meet Wonderland’s curious inhabitants. You will join the Hatter and the glamorous March hare at the maddest un-birthday party. Perhaps the Cheshire Cat will point you in the direction to take. Perhaps you will even rise up against the fearsome Queen of Hearts.
Honestly? I don’t think I can emphasise enough (in print anyway) how much I loved this. The plot line won’t surprise you too much if you are familiar with the Wonderland tale. But! The scenes, the actors, the energy, the excitement are all incredible. The attention to detail for the set designs and props are second to none. You are led through several sets and you’ll get completely confused about where you are, where you have been, where you are going!). Each one is a joy. At least five of them blew me away. The actors seem like they are having so much fun and you will be right there in the thick of the action!
The logistics are incredible too. At any one time there are several different audiences going round and each one of those has been split into four. You join in with other groups for some scenes. Sometimes, you get the feeling that someone has just left the room and that a secret plot has been discussed ….
We opted to add a cocktail to our tickets at the time of booking. But we foolishly left our tokens for this in our bags which we checked in. They are really keen for you to check you coats and bags in (though I noticed some still with small handbags). If you remember to take your token in then you get to have a cocktail in a teacup during the Tea Party scene.
We did get to enjoy our cocktail in the bar after the show though!
Cocktails and Bar Snacks
The pop-up bar at the event is pretty special. With Alice-themed cocktails and other drinks, simple bar food, an area upstairs to play flamingo croquet and a photo booth downstairs.
Service at the bar was rather slow in the middle of the evening, I think there were a few cocktail orders being made up. No White Rabbit style hurrying here! We whiled away the rest of the evening enjoying cocktails, mac’n’cheese and “dirty” chips. We spent a lot of time talking about the show. Our group of four had two different experiences and we kept coming back to exploring these differences. Which made me want to go again!
Age & Suitability
They say the evening show is suitable for those aged 11 and upwards. We didn’t see any children when we went and it did seem like a more grown up, boozy affair (or maybe that was just us!). Due to the immersive nature I did find some parts a little scary. It’s all dimly lit also. I think it wouldn’t be appropriate for all 11 year olds but I’m guessing there are some that don’t scare as easily as me!
Adventures in Wonderland (for ages 5-10)
There is a specific children’s daytime show which is specially adapted for a younger audience. I can’t make up my mind whether my 5 year old would enjoy it or not (she’s sensitive and doesn’t like the dark!). A couple of friends are taking their children soon so I await to hear there reports.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy the bizarre dreams I keep having about the adventure, a bit like Alice herself!
Find out more – https://www.alice-underground.com
PS – the frabjous photos of Alice, the March Hare and Mad Hatter and the playing cards are taken from the Alice Underground website. Understandably no photography is allowed through the show. The grainy box office and bar shots are taken my me or my friend when I’m them! Fabulous boomerang style video from the Photo Booth.