6 May 2015

Alice's amazing Adventures Underground

I like promenade theatre (if that's the correct term) and I like theatre in unusual locations so going to take part in Alice's Adventures Underground in the tunnels under Waterloo Station was a no-brainer. The surprising thing was that it took the theatre club at work to inform me of the show.

These tunnels were not, I think, the same ones that the Old Vic Tunnels used and where I saw some great shows. These tunnels were a little closer to the platforms and were accessed via a different entrance, Launcelot Street rather than graffiti laden Leake Street. The feel was just the same though and the tunnels were the ideal location for a show like this.

As with Drowned Man  and In The Beginning was The End, we were let in in small groups at set times and we had to be in position in good time and had to divest ourselves of bags. This time we also had a no photography rule which I actually kept to.

The performance was more structured than the other two and we were tightly guided from one scene to the next. We did not all go the same way as we were split up twice, first we each had to choose between "eat me" and "drink me" then later we were allocated to card suits. Not only did we go different ways but talking to other people later on I confirmed that we went to some separate places too. I like that idea as it means that it is worth going to "see" the show more than once.

There were different kinds of scenes and different levels of interaction. There was quite a bit of water sloshing around at one point and the kitchen was very messy. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall and told us a story, Tweedledum and Tweedledee performed circus tricks, the Mock Turtle sang to us, some rooms were packed with objects for us to explore, another room had peep holes so that we could spy on another group inside.

The variety of scenes and the speed that we went through them helped to make the show exciting and the familiar characters helped to take us into the story. It was all smartly done and I could see why some groups were using the show as part of a celebration party.

Alice's Adventures Underground was not high-art but then nor was it pretending to be and it was not low-art either. It was a very successful collection of performance strung together imaginatively to produce an evocative narrative.

The originality was the bonus that made the show special. It was also a great deal of fun.

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