null

A few weeks ago I went to see Alice's Adventures Underground, in the Vaults beneath London's Waterloo station. This promenade performance is a tidied up version of a show that was a smash hit in 2015 (see reviews here and here)

null

This time round, some effort has been made to insert a plot - no easy task when the point of the performance is to make sure that you never have the same experience twice. Audiences of some 50-odd are cleverly split into groups of no more than 14, each weaving their way in a kind of intricate choreography through a maze of sets ranging from the Gardeners' potting shed (full of red paint, of course) to the Duchess's crazy kitchen, with much more besides - the Caterpillar's shisha lounge, for instance, or weedledum and Tweedledee flying overhead as alarmingly as any Monstrous Crow, while arguing all the time...

I found it hard to follow the plot, but it really didn't matter at all. The whole experience is pretty psychedelic, so it's best to go with the flow - or, turn on, tune in and drop out. As for Alice, she was hardly to be seen, except for a few glimpses in mirrors, and a dancing figure on a zoetrope, and an unexpected appearance at the very end, just before the entire trial scene shut itself up like a pack of cards.

It's a clever, amazing experience, best for those who are fairly active and reasonably sober (you wait in a bar beforehand, and emerge into a cocktail lounge/games room at the very end.) The surfaces are rough and constantly changing, there are flights of stairs and rubber floors and narrow, awkward tunnels. No photos are allowed during the performance - not that there is really time to take any - but here are some of the photos I took in the bar. I left out the ones of me playing flamingo croquet or downing cocktails!

null

If you want to go, head over to this website and click the big green door. The little door leads to a different show aimed at kids - and that looks fun too. Tickets are from 39, a reasonable price for such an elaborate, immersive experience with such a multi talented cast.