Alice in Wonderland at the Vaults, London – Review
This highly interactive version of Alice in Wonderland from Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company is really worth taking your kids to. Not least of all because it’s an excuse to go yourself!
I was lucky enough to go to the press preview, and am delighted to share some thoughts and photos with you.
Truly immersive theatre
This isn’t theatre in the traditional sense – it’s a physical as much as mental experience. Kids and adults alike will be beguiled and enchanted as they follow characters through tunnels, corridors, lifts and walkways to the various installations and theatrical set pieces that are the backdrop to each scene, all in the Vaults theatre space under Waterloo station.
I’m a massive fan of Alice in Wonderland. Going to Christ Church, where Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was a maths don, it was practically a requirement to have Alice in Wonderland postcards adorning your wall, and go to Alice themed college balls. So I’m a hard cookie to please when it comes to Alice renditions.
So you know I mean it when I give it the thumbs up.
A veritable romp through Wonderland
From the moment you line up in the ticket hall to be taken to see the White Rabbit, the show is a glorious and interactive romp through Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The set pieces, costumes and puppetry are all top notch and while this show may only last an hour, you won’t be bored for one minute.
You’ll lie down on pillows in a billowing white tent, watching the caterpillar give his monologue while projected images play on the fabric. You’ll stand by the side of the ring as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee prepare to do (very soft) battle. And you’ll help a very camp Queen of Hearts try every door in the room to try and get out.
I don’t want to give too much away, as the magic lies in the unknown. But it definitely gets the thumbs up from me and I’d go as far to say as it’s unmissable.
To be honest – I think it beats Shrek’s Adventure, a stone’s throw away on the river, hands down.
Intelligent kids theatre
There is a trailer online, but I wouldn’t let your kids watch it as I think it’s nice to see these types of shows ‘cold’ and not know what to expect.
The theatre recommends that this is a show for 5-10 year olds, but I’d say it’s great for older kids too.
The only piece of constructive criticism I have (and I write this in the hope that future runs may have the chance to adapt the script) is that the show seems to fizzle out rather than end on a big bang or twist. The set of the last scene is great – a massive long tea party table with cracked dirty plates, that the audience sits around. But I’d have liked to have something really interactive and high energy to end on – perhaps a reunion of all the cast.
But then I’m picky. And if you asked me to give it marks out of ten I’d have to say, as this is based on a nonsense book, 11.
When and where
Performances up to Sunday 3 September 2017
Box Office: 0844 248 1125 or https://www.alice-underground.com/book-aiw
Ticket Prices: Adult: £26.50. Children: £15.50. Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £71.00
Please note – I went to a press preview, which meant that my tickets were comps. But words and thoughts are my own.