The Vaults, London – until 23 September 2017
This imaginative and completely absorbing production really does make you feel as though you have gone down the rabbit hole and entered a new world. The further into Les Enfants Terribles version of Wonderland, the more audience members are enthralled by what is happening around them as well as questioning their sanity by the end – including me.
Featuring the characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic story, Alice’s Adventures Underground uses plenty of imagination and creativity in terms of the visual effects and the costumes, while the story is slightly twisted to give audiences different ‘journeys’ it retains many key lines from the book and its weird and wonderful spirit.
It is a difficult show to review on the basis that it is a production that is best experienced by having no idea what to expect around the next corner. This technique as well as allowing the audience pick their path builds up anticipation beautifully, while at the same time enchanting audiences.
But despite this there is plenty to admire about the show – from the wonderful characterisations of the likes of the Queen of Hearts and the Caterpillar being particularly memorable (the cast all switch roles on a daily basis) all the way through to the clever use of special effects that offers a very modern interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.
Samuel Wyer’s designs are wonderfully bold, colourful and at times wacky – really enhancing the strangeness of Wonderland and almost making the audience feel as though they are reverting back into childhood.
Throughout, the audience can see the cast’s enthusiasm and joy of performing the show and this then in turn has a positive effect on the audience, encouraging them to feel more involved and talk to each other along the way – it is a great way to meet new people.
On the flip side to this, it can seem that the story (the one I was on anyway) could have been clarified a little bit better and the experience of being crammed into a small space with a lot of people at the beginning of the show can be a little bit uncomfortable at times. But these are small flaws in what proves to be an entertaining hour and a half.
For anyone looking for something that is completely out there and pure fun this is certainly the place to come. If you aren’t mad when you go in you certainly will be when you emerge!