Looking for some immersive, experimental theatre? You’re in the right place!
London has one of the most impressive live performance scenes in the world, with a whole host of mindblowing West End shows to take in through your plastic glass of wine and overpriced miniature ice cream tub.
However – some of the very best stuff I’ve seen hasn’t been on the stages of theatreland, but in small venues and quirky locations. Last year, I went not once, but twice to the Goosebumps Alive show (and did a backstage tour) at Waterloo’s Vaults. Which shows the kind of theatre performances I’m all about.
And if you see one immersive theatre performance this year, you just have to make it Alice’s Adventures Underground. Performed by the experimental and generally awesome Les Enfants Terribles, it had its original run in 2015. Until 23rd September this year, it’s back and even bigger, better and curiouser than ever.
I’m not going to take you through the story, because the surprise and choice elements are such a huge part of it, but I will give you a bit of an idea of what you can expect from your evening. You begin your adventures into Wonderland in a small, low-lit room packed with curiosities and plenty of books. Once you’ve found your way underground, you discover the current state of Wonderland, meeting favourite characters along the way…
To begin with, each member of the large group makes a choice which dictates the journey they’ll take through Wonderland. A word of warning though – even if your group choose the same paths at the beginning, there’s still a chance you’ll end up on separate paths later down the line. Don’t worry about being left flying solo – you’ll just have some new faces to befriend, and the whole group come back together for the final scenes. There are four different story arcs to discover, and if all are as exciting and fun-filled as mine was, whatever you choose you’ll be in for a treat.
As you make your way through the incredibly transformed Vaults, you’ll witness the majorly impressive effort that’s gone into the set design – from essential set pieces to smaller asides that really enhance the experience. On your journey, you’ll also get a couple of things to eat, drink and take away with you as a reminder of your adventure.
The performance aspects combine theatre, acrobatics and puppetry – using costume and masks inventively and creatively. All actors throw themselves completely into their roles, allowing for ad libs and patter with audience members outside the well-crafted script. You don’t simply watch events unfold – you really do feel like part of them.
Alongside the show itself, the Wonderland Bar is open for business, and even if you’re not seeing the show itself you can pop in for a cocktail. The bar’s design puts you right into the world of Wonderland, and you’ll find themed cocktails, flamingo croquet and a photo booth where you can make yourself into a gif. I obviously made my own gif, and it was awesome.
Seriously, if you have any interest in London theatre, performance, or just really cool stuff in general, mark out some of next payday’s cash for Alice’s Adventures Underground. This show is magical, beautifully orchestrated and completely unique. I completely and utterly adored it.