Off West End Review

Alice’s Adventures Underground – The Vaults

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

The tunnels at The Vaults have once again been transformed into a fantastical maze, where you can encounter the weird and wonderful from Lewis Carroll’s much-loved tale.

As you delve into the underground world of Alice in Wonderland, you are offered a choice – Eat Me or Drink Me? Your decision determines your journey, tumbling through the rhymes and riddles of Les Enfants Terribles’ theatrical treat.

If you were weirded out as a kid by Disney’s creation, wait until you are fully immersed in the dream-like world, sitting at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, sharing a lift with the white rabbit or becoming an accessory to murder. Poor Humpty Dumpty ‘just fell.’

It’s an experience you need to fully embrace and join in the fun for a truly thrilling evening. If audience participation makes you cringe, then this probably isn’t your thing.

alice in wonderland

The groups are, of course, identified by card suits and you’re led through the enchanting warren of characters and curiosities. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, carries the hefty price of your head… but will you make it out of the courtroom alive?

Directors Oliver Lansley and James Seager have created a deliciously dark world, with the exquisite work of designer Samuel Wyer. The vast sets are really impressive and the use of optical illusions really add to the magic. Every intricate detail is considered.

The Hatter’s tea party was an absolute highlight. In a large grungy tunnel, stacks of crockery are precariously balanced across an uneven table, spanning the length of the room. The March Hare and Mad Hatter slosh across the table top and you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a debauched party where the cocktails flow instead of tea.

It’s an all-encompassing evening with food stalls and bars in the foyer to enjoy, before or after the show. I must confess, the lip-smacking mac’n’cheese from Saucy Chip sent me into a heady spin, and I washed it down with a gin infused, colour-changing cocktail – an absolute delight.

Alice’s Adventures Underground is a truly mad and magical evening that will have you heading back for more. So, take a sip or have a bite and venture down the rabbit hole, but remember – don’t be late.

Alice’s Adventures Underground runs until 23rd September at The Vaults, Waterloo

(Photo courtesy of Richard Holt)

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