Alice’s Adventures Underground – REVIEW

Alice’s Adventures Underground 

The Vaults, London

★★★★

Alice’s Adventures Underground

The Vaults, London

 

Seen on September 14th, 2017

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★

On Thursday evening I took a little tumble down to the vaults and into their enchanting world of Wonderland. The hour and a half immersive experience takes you to every possible destination in Wonderland to meet the iconic characters everybody knows so well but DON’T TOUCH THE TARTS! This unique immersive theatre experience is back due to popular demand after its successful run last year and is inspiring a whole new world of immersive theatre.

Heading into the venue you were really transported to Wonderland. The theming was great from the onset. My friend and I had decided to get there early as we wanted to enjoy what was on offer in ‘The Wonderland Bar’. However, disappointment quickly set in. I like to make my reviews of the whole theatre experience as honest as possible and this is what I shall continue to do for this review. As we collected our tickets we were informed that we had to drop all coats and bags off at the cloak room, which was expected. The only issue being was that we then had to pay for this service. I found it very wrong to inforce a £1 per item charge for something that was required. I paid and put this issue to the side. To the bar for cocktails! More disappointment. The drinks menu looked great and I was so ready to try one of the themed cocktails. I ended up paying £9 for a small glass of squash instead of a cocktail. Watching the bar tender pour the drink and it only fill half the small glass which was then rectified with…more ice! There was no thought or care in making the drinks. I felt rather cheated. Which is a shame because the cocktail menu looked brilliant with magic elements to each cocktail. It wasn’t until we bumped into Rhea (FOH manager) that the night started to improve. She was so helpful. Had all the information we were looking for regarding the bar after the show. You could tell she was a great person who really loves her job! Thank you, Rhea!

Right, enough with the bar and on with the show! I really liked the way that an announcement was made through the bar when calling the people through for the next time slot. The Vaults are very strict on their ‘no late comers admitted’ policy so did everything and more to make sure that you were there for your entry time. Multiple announcements, projection images/clock on the main wall by the box office and even stage management and FOH running around gathering the stragglers. The way Alice’s Adventures Underground works is that throughout the evening performance times are staggered at every quarter of the hour where a new group will enter the show. The last group of the night were called forward and we headed into our waiting pen. The excitement grew as we had no idea what to expect and this excitement was fuelled further with the little glimpses of the entrance tunnel. Wow! Is all I can say about the first room/pre-show room. 10/10 for the theming. We had a little time to explore the whole room. It was so interactive, there were books to pick up, pianos to play, teddy bears and so much more. There were some elements of distortion which really worked well for the beginning of the transition from reality to Wonderland. Holograms of a girl appeared in different locations around the room when the show was about to start just to add a little more to the disorientation.

Then the real adventure down to Wonderland began! Into a life size zoetrope, the story telling continued. We then finally came into contact with the first of many actors. It was great to actually be given the choice as to which way we went through the maze: eat me or drink me! At this point the group split in two, red and black. We were taken through to the next section (Wonderland Boarding) and given some of the maze rules, obviously all in keeping with the theme and slipped into the script wonderfully. Then it was time to be split further, into our suits. It was really cute how we were all handed an individual card from a pack which obviously stated our suit and number. I personally found that the experience worked a lot better when we were in these smaller groups. It enabled a lot more interaction and a lot less pushing. It was a much more comfortable size in comparison to the larger group initially which was far too big.

We were taken threw the warren of rooms and I won’t go into detail with all of the rooms as it will make this post much longer than it is already, also, I don’t want to spoil all the fun! My personal favourite room was Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. That room was completely unexpected and very daunting to enter. Two giant cribs with both characters stood motionless on them as we were instructed to sit on the teeny tiny benches. And then the fun began. My jaw was on the floor that entire scene!

Whilst in these smaller groups, we had the same ‘joker’ leading us around and this was a great opportunity to get involved. The improvisation from the actors was wonderful and the attention to details made the whole experience. People in the group would say something at the beginning and sure enough later on in the experience the actor themselves would make reference to it. In one of the earlier rooms my name was revealed and boy, did they play on that! Just a lovely personal touch that made you feel part of the show, very memorable.

The groups were slowly brought back together later in the show for certain scenes of a more complex nature. The first being the mock turtle which was based in a really elaborate, beautiful set. This section in particular was initially very slow but picked up towards the end of the song when the rain effect started. Again, very unexpected! Just like the rest of the show, everything was so unexpected. There was no way I was able to predict anything that would happen next. Another great element I loved was that it did not matter where you were positioned in the group, you were still very much part of the action and did not miss anything. Between rooms there was a great deal of movement so this positioning was altered all the time. Sometimes I was towards the front; other times in the middle of the group and never felt excluded at the back.

At the end of the show the whole group came back as a whole for the finale. What a finale it was! Details from everyone’s show were revealed as we didn’t all have the same experience! A beautiful piece of puppetry work was witnessed (but to be honest all the puppetry throughout was stunning!). It was a great location for everyone to come together and for the final bows to be taken. That was one thing I was concerned about, that the cast would not get the recognition they deserved after the show but this was no issue and they most certainly received it. And then our journey into reality began. This was such an epic experience!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been done so many times however this version’s style had a whole new spin on the story and I felt like I was experiencing it all for the very first time. So refreshing! The adventure isn’t around for much longer so beg, borrow and steal to get a ticket!

It only has a limited time left and is booking until September 23rd. Do not miss this one! https://www.thevaults.london/alices-adventures-undetground

I cannot wait to see the next immersive experience at The Vaults, Hair the musical, opening this October for its 50th anniversary. I am very intrigued to see how a musical will work in this type of theatre. https://www.thevaults.london/hair-the-musical

Be sure to check out The Vaults as they have so many incredible events on: https://www.thevaults.london/about-c10fk

Gatsby Lates with TodayTix

Gatsby Lates with TodayTix

Saturday 9th August, 2017

 

Written by Jade Prince

Before we start this was an incredible night! So much glamour so prepare for lots of photos!

The Great Gatsby is an immersive theatre experience at a top secret location in the heart of London. TodayTix teamed up with the Great Gatsby and their ‘Gatsby Lates’ events to create a one of a kind evening for a lucky few TodayTix customers. How could we possibly turn down such an offer?!

The location remained secret until a few days prior to the event and it was a very obscure! Gatsby pharmacy did not reveal much as we arrived. Stepping into the building revealed three main rooms for us to explore. I was a little disappointed at this point as I was expecting a bit more however everything soon changed! (More on that bit later!) We were welcomed by the man himself, Gatsby, and told we were to have free roam of his home. Before we could run off anywhere the full welcome show began, a great introduction to what the night would hold. The cast from the show cleared the floor and performed an incredible Charleston dance routine. This was then thrown to the guests and we were all given a quick lesson.

After all of that I needed a drink and then it was time to explore. I was amazed how quickly people disappeared but then I realised where they were gong after seeing several people dashing out from behind curtains. It turned out there was a warren of rooms behind these said curtains! It was crazy! My initial impression of there only being three main rooms was completely wrong! Long corridors lined with rich coloured fabrics. A boudoir which featured Gatsby’s own stylist with an array of glamorous garments to try on. Up some stairs brought you to the bedroom which housed the hair and make-up. Two stylists creating 1920s hairstyles and make-up looks. The queue was very long for this which was to be expected! The gents were covered too with their own barber. A quick skip, step and hop through a wardrobe and you were in a room decorated with shirts, dressed and accessories to purchase. As if that wasn’t enough we discovered more. Scripts from the show and the less ‘moral’ events hidden in the basement, poker! I mean when poker is presented to one, one must have a dabble! It would simply be rude not to!

All of these events and rooms where hosted by cast members. The cast were incredible! They were not just there for the show pieces, they were mingling with the guests and really enjoying the night. I had a great conversation with Trixie. They remained in character the whole night, or until it came to a close and we had some fun in the TodayTix photo booth!

Despite the rooms being rather crowed, the larger ‘party’ rooms had the silent disco available with multiple channels to choose from playing fitting music. There were plenty of headphones to go around, too! These larger rooms all had different vibes to them with different bars that contained a variation of drinks depending on the room. One had your typical ciders, another had themed cocktails and the other, prosecco! All which were reasonably priced, may I add.

The main room (featured in the panoramic picture below) closed at around midnight after the performances. I thought that this was a little early and it also meant that the warren of rooms were no longer as accessible as before. This was a little sad. A lot of work had been put into them so it would have been nice to enjoy them for a little longer. But at this time a lot of people began leaving so a few games of poker were needed!

We didn’t miss any of the performances as characters ran around the building gathering people together with something along the lines of “Mr Gatsby is looking for everyone, he has something special for you all”. There was most certainly audience participation which was to be expected as the show itself is immersive theatre. This was seamlessly blended into snippets of the show. Absolutely stunning! The whole scene performed captivated me. I had the perfect view from the first floor and I found myself leaning on the barrier completely in love with what I was watching.

TodayTix Gatsby Lates 16

An observation I made during the welcome speech was a section where a toast was raised but not everyone was able to partake as not everyone had a drink. It would have been nice to have received a welcome drink (maybe prosecco to match the glittery event) and have that included in the ticket price. Add a little more to the immersive element, maybe?

Overall it was a great night. Seeing everyone dressed up and enjoying themselves was wonderful! I most certainly had an amazing night! I would highly recommend ‘Gatsby Lates’. It is important to note that some of the elements I experienced may not be the same as the original ‘Gatsby Lates’ because TodayTix had added a few new things. But don’t let that put you off!

For great ticket offers check out https://www.todaytix.com/shows/london 

If you fancy the immersive theatre experience definitely check out the show: https://artstickets.co.uk/great-gatsby/