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4 May 2015

london | alice's adventures underground

it was laaate last year that bex informed me she'd booked us tickets to alice's adventures underground for 'next summer'. at the time, i'd popped it in my calendar, paid her the ticket price, and completely forgotten about it. i'd done no research, not looked into it at all, or even followed any of its social media channels, so i had quite literally not thought twice about it from there until about a ~week ago when it popped up in my calendar.

so much for 'next summer', eh?

following a text reminder from bex that week, that warned of the strict dress code of 'red or black', i was sent into a mild panic (we were going on a wednesday!); i was ~forced to buy a new black (and white and hearts) dress (that totally made me the queen of hearts) for the occasion, and even tinker with the idea of not wearing pink that day (blasphemy). thankfully, ~that idea was not given too much thought.

on the day of the show, i thought it best to do a little research. the info on the website reminded me a bit of the grimm tales immersive theatre production i went along to earlier this year, so if nothing else, i planned to be warm. the information received from mr. rabbit via email was to dress comfy, in the strict dress code colours, and to absolutely ~not be late for the very important date. knowing we had to be in the vaults under waterloo by 7:45 meant we had plenty of time for dinner and a few drinks first.

except, we were also warned that there would be no intermission, or break from the performance for 90 minutes. this included being about to use 'the queen's throne' during the show. that immediately ruled too many drinks out for me, but certainly didn't stop me indulging in a kumquat mojito at ping pong on the southbank when given the chance. with a fairly rushed dinner and brisk walk to the vaults (which are just out the other side of the leake street tunnel), we were definitely a touch later than 7:45, but made it just in time for the 8pm show. with no idea what to expect, we formed an orderly line, and did what we were told...

and i'd hate to spoil it for those of you who are heading along to the show 'this summer', but i will say this: the production value was incredible. a lot of effort and work had gone into recreating the 'through the looking glass' version of this much loved tale, and the actors were nothing if not bat shit mental. the story was well-told, and we were encouraged to get involved as best we could - and quite often were the centre of attention, which was also fun.

our group was split into two initially (eat me/drink me), and then from there, into groups of four (hearts/diamonds/spades/clubs) to be lead through the performance by our head card. with four stories ongoing at one time, the actors had the task of remembering which group and which version to deliver to which group, and i certainly admire that. while each group visited the same actors, they each received a different performance - which is crazy.

the tale was woven through the renovated vaults; from the original rabbit hole, to the looking glass itself, the infamous tea party scene, the knave of hearts' kitchen (did he eat the tarts?) and to the leader of the w.o.r.m's lair where a specific set of instructions were given to each suit. as a spade, we were told to blow our 'trumpets' (party horns) when we heard the ~answer not the ~question to the riddle "why is a raven like a writing desk?" the ~answer, not the ~question. *important.

the final scene was the courtroom, where the story reach its climax. from there, the story for each suit was uncovered, and it was fascinating to watch it all come together so seamlessly. it certainly did not feel like we'd been in there for  90 minutes, which i'm grateful for. after the show we were released to the wonderland bar where we were allowed to consume the queen's cocktails, but cause no nonsense... but being that it was nearing 10pm, we admitted defeat after four rounds in the photo booth, and headed home via the tunnel where we stumbled across some great alice-themed artwork.

all in all, i would absolutely recommend the show for anyone interested in something 'a little bit different' to do in london, who maybe loves the theatre, but is a bit tired of sitting through the same old thing on the west end. it's a little bit dark, and a lot bit creepy, and it's a fun way to spend a couple of hours on the southbank.

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