Les Enfants Terribles creates a masterpiece of promenade theatre that enchants, enthrals, and enraptures the audience.
I’ve got something to admit: prior to attending Alice’s Adventures Underground, I didn’t know a lot about Alice in Wonderland. I know, I know. What an amazing childhood I must’ve had. I honestly think it was just one of those things that passed me by. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the basic premise, but I definitely wasn’t an expert. So when my lovely friend Daniella asked me along for press night, I couldn’t refuse. It was time to take the plunge into the infamously weird and wacky Universe that Lewis Carrol created over 150 years ago.
When I arrived at The Vaults, I was gobsmacked. Right from the get-go, I was transformed into another world: one of intrigue and illusion. The foyer was beautifully designed (and the cocktails were to die for.) I instantly felt like I was in immersed in this world, and the show hadn’t even started yet: my only regret is that I didn’t get there sooner.
Above: Taste testing the delicious cocktails and curry chips prior to the performance. (Mine was aptly titled the Chesire Cat.)
I had no idea what I was about to experience when the 8:45 performance of the show began. What makes Alice’s Adventures Underground unique as a piece of promenade theatre is that the audience is given a choice: near the beginning of the performance we were asked whether we would like to EAT (some kind of jelly) or DRINK (a pineapple-like liquid.) Whatever we chose would affect the way the show unfolded for us. Later, we were sorted into card suits (I was a club, descended from soldiers.) This further affected our experience. Even before the performance came to an end, I immediately became curious as to what the other audience members who chose differently were confronted with, and it convinced me into deciding that I should probably return for a repeat visit.
Intricately designed by Samuel Wyer, and directed by Les Enfants Terribles founder Oliver Lansley, the show is beautiful in every sense of the word. Without giving away too much information, every minute detail has been carefully thought of: from the sprawling banquet hall to the tiny (and often claustrophobic) winding corridors.
I am gobsmacked at the talent of this cast, who perform 36 times a night, and who regularly rotate characters. They are not only actors: they are singers, acrobats, comedians, contortionists, puppeteers, and tour guides. Performers who are only fit for Wonderland.
Beg, borrow, or steal a ticket. You will not regret it.
Alice’s Adventures Underground is playing at the Vaults until September 23rd. Book your tickets here.
Marketing image courtesy of Jason Joyce.