By Esin Huseyin
With this year marking the 150th year since Alice in Wonderland was first published, its no surprise that London is awash with various productions in commemoration.
There’s one in particular that’s stood out to me, since I first saw an advertisement on the tube, and that’s Les Enfants Terribles’ immersive production in The Vaults. The idea of having such a colourful, and let’s face it slightly absurd tale, come to life around me was one I couldn’t resist.
The production commences every 15 minutes usually, depending on availability, and lasts around 90 minutes. You’ll be navigating your way through slightly unusual terrain into the daft and wonderful world of Wonderland. Probably worth mentioning that if you’re claustrophobic or of a nervous disposition, you may want to sit this one out.
I was lucky enough to be given two tickets to attend one of the performances last week. To which I can’t help but briefly mention, that upon arrival I encountered a pretty rude member of the front of house team.
Putting that experience aside, just a quick DISCLAIMER – I will not give away a lot of the storyline, as it’s one I want you all to enjoy. Part of the joy is the chaos and disorientating fun of it all.
The set design was incredible, from floor to ceiling book covered rooms, the use of trap doors, as well as the use of technology like lighting and sound all helped to create a very smooth transition between the rooms and different characters you encountered.
You begin your own personal journey through Wonderland with the questions: ‘Eat me?’ and ‘Drink me?’ Depending on your chosen path, it affects your journey and storyline through the maze that was Wonderland.
You came in to contact with the standard bunch of characters with a few extra added in for good measure. Some of the characters were puppets, such as the cat, it gave an air of him being everywhere around you, all seeing.
Although the angle of which we were all told to sit in, did spoil the reveal of the big cat face. All I could see was the actor working the puppet underneath.
Being rushed from room to room through curtained hallways, it led our group not only deeper in to the maze of rooms but also deeper into Wonderland – closer to the queen. You can’t help but feel as if someone or something is going to jump out at you every 2 seconds.
Your journey ends in court with the Queen where you’re, depending on your suit, equipped with mini missions.
The rabbit was phenomenal, even when he wasn’t talking his body language was twitchy and impatient, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him.
The Queen showed me just how much fun she was having. Her flamboyant portrayal of the character was incredible, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Even the word nonsense made her sick…
As much as I loved the entirety of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, there was one point where the mouse (I think) ran across all of the tables holding an operatic note for the entirety of the table.
And my final highlight was the silly yet skilful choreography of meeting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They’re literally running circles around you…
Overall I got lost in Wonderland and survived. From nervous laughter to belly rumbling laughs, it’s a great performance to take you out of your comfort zone and get you talking. Taking traditional characters and infusing them with new life and skills.
The show is still on until the end of August, so book your tickets here. And mind you don’t lose your head…
All pictures used within the body of this text are with thanks to Jane Hobson.