Last week I was lucky enough to have the chance to see Les Enfant Terribles’s most recent production at the London Waterloo Vaults, ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’. I wasn’t going to write about this because the show has just closed, and I felt it would be a bit harsh to go on about how great it was if nobody would be able to enjoy it in the future. However, today the company sent out an email to say that the production would be back in 2016 – you can even sign up to a mailing list so you know when tickets are available – and I felt it was my duty to thoroughly recommend this experience.
The show is a piece of immersive theatre; the audience is led through the underground tunnels by various characters, you’re taken through in a series of scenes, and often encouraged to participate.
Near the start of the production, audience members are split up into one of the four card suits after deciding whether to go through the “eat me” or the “drink me” door. Ultimately, each group ends up viewing a different set of scenes and enjoying a different experience according to their suit. My friends and I ended up as hearts, and were tasked with finding out the criminal responsible for painting the roses red by spying on another group.
The show couldn’t have been a better escape from reality. For a few hours you can return to a childlike state of play and just let yourself become part of a story that we are all familiar with. I wish I could have walked through the tunnels and taken photo after photo because the set design was gorgeous. There aren’t really any pictures that show you this online so you really do have to go and see for yourself to appreciate it. It’s a good thing people weren’t allowed to take photos though, because I know I would have probably spent the entire performance focusing more on what I was going to Instagram, rather than simply enjoying Wonderland.
One of the most moving moments of the show for me was ‘The Mock Turtle’s Lament’. You can find the song on Spotify, or buy it on iTunes. Just search ‘The Mirror and the Moon’ – it’s by Alexander Wolfe and it’s a lovely bit of songwriting. Hearing it performed live, with rain poring from the ceiling onto the water filling the pit in the room was so beautiful and unexpectedly emotional.
Once the show ends you’re taken through to the bar. Here we spent the rest of the night drinking signature cocktails, catching up, and making the most of the opportunity to finally take some pictures!
I’d go back again just to pick the other door and see the scenes and sets our group didn’t see. If, like me, you’ve ever wished you could fall down the rabbit hole, or go through the looking glass like Alice, you’ll love this.