‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ Review

Post by:
16 Sep 17

Recently, I fell down the rabbit hole and discovered that there is somewhere through the looking glass… at least there is at The Vaults in London.

We might not be all be mad here but the sheer logistics of how they run the multi-threaded immersive theatre production that is Les Enfants Terribles ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ had me scratching my head nonetheless!

‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ is seriously impressive and expansive. The first place you see if the themed bar and cloakroom areas with flamingo golf and wonderland set dressing, before being ushered through to a room filled with writing desks, old photographs, handwritten riddles and letters and bookcases with books carefully glued to as to appear mid-fall.

While wondering how easy the setup might be to recreate in my living room, a figure appears in a series of mirrors around the room – she asks who she is before vanishing and a bookcase opens up into a corridor to start your adventure. After descending into Wonderland and meeting several familiar faces you get your first choice – eat me or drink me… grow or shrink as an optical illusion lets you mimic Alice and decide your fate. From that point on you join one of two colours, then you are further divided into suits and given your official ‘sanctioned ultra-sensible identification ticket‘, meaning there are a total of 4 different interwoven simultaneous stories being acted out for every performance. Your story puts you on the side of her majesties red suits or the worm rebels, and you are only reunited with the entirety of the rest of the group for the grand finale.

Comparing the original trailers to the new one and what I saw while there, this run of the show has been much upgraded and added to from the first run. My experience had me looking for jam tart stealing traitors, listening to a beautiful song on a lake complete with rainfall (yes, inside, underground) from the mock turtle and a brief encounter with a Cheshire cat! Humpty Dumpty made fun of my name, for not well describing my shape, and a chief tried to turn my friend into lunch!

Having spoken to others who attended, the stories and locations were completely different with very few points of crossover. This means you could definitely attend this twice, choosing to eat once and drink the other, and not see any of the same characters or sets. In fact, they run a ticket option that allows you to do just that with a discount on the overall price.

Everything about this production was exceptionally well thought out, meticulously planned, and the atmosphere and attention to detail on the smallest of items, from posters on the wall you walked past, to notes left lying around on tables, meant I could happily have explored the set with no cast for hours.

The actors were all brilliant, the performances were spot on with a mixture of prepared lines and ad-libs, and energetic banter mixed in seamlessly. The costumes were delightful playful twists on the designs, the puppets were amazing and life-size!

If this show does a run near you I would highly recommend it. I would be amazed if it doesn’t come back for another run in London as its extended run has been consistently sold out even with performances starting every hour!

I’m back in the real world now sadly, and as to whether we stopped the jam tart thieves or saved wonderland… I will leave that up to you to discover!

For more information on Les Enfants Terribles ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, head over to their website at alice-underground.com.