Going underground with Alice: Alice in Wonderland is 150 years old!

Mark Reynolds 

Acclaimed theatre company Les Enfants Terribles and children’s spin-off Les Petits have built a Wonderland in the Vaults under London’s Waterloo Station, to host two immersive shows celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

In both the grown-ups’ production, Alice’s Adventures Underground and the kids’ show Adventures in Wonderland, audiences are taken in small groups on a captivating journey through narrow corridors and expansive underground sets ranging from the Rev. Charles Dodgson’s study and rooms full of magical mirrors or impassible doors to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with 60 place settings. Wonderland is brought to life through a dizzying array of costume, puppetry, song, rhyme, circus, drama, audience participation and sheer spectacle.

Image Source: Abby Wain as Alice, Mark Sanderson as the White Rabbit, Grace Carter as the March Hare and Hayden Wood as the Mad Hatter at the Tea Party, Brendan McCoy as Border Guard and Tom Moores as the Knave, painting the Queen’s roses. All © Jane Hobson

As you go in you’re faced with an Eat Me or Drink Me route into Wonderland, and part of the fun is to be split up from your companions (though best not your children), and compare notes at the end about the characters and scenes you each witness. Along the way, you may become a favourite of the tyrannical and impulsive Queen of Hearts, or part of a rebel band – the Wonderland Underground Resistance Movement – determined to wreak havoc with the regime’s nonsensical rules.

In the junior show, you’re given the thrilling task of finding Alice and helping her escape the clutches of the mad Queen (not before grabbing a handful of her yummy jam tarts). The grown-ups’ show, meanwhile, has fun with the idea of what may have been going on in the kingdom in the century and a half since Alice first fell down the rabbit-hole, and offers some sprightly twists and surprises.

A celebration of the wide-eyed wonder of childhood, and a faithful yet inventive interpretation of the classic tale, this is one of the hottest entertainment tickets of the summer, and a delight for audiences of all ages.

Alice’s Adventures Underground and Adventures in Wonderland continue at The Vaults until Sunday 30 August.

Visit www.alice-underground.com for more details. 

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