Oh where to even begin?
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely,
“and go on until you reach the end: then stop.”
….and so I shall.
Last week My friend Yasmin and I took a trip down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland, but not as we know it. This wonderland is set 150 years after Alice fell down the rabbit hole… the Queen has banned nonsense, and a revolution is imminent.
Down in the vaults at Waterloo renowned theatre company ‘Les Enfants Terribles’ transported us both to the magical, mystical, mad place.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.
As the promenade performance began, we were led into an old, deserted attic. Full of discoloured photos, book and mirrors. As the lights dimmed we began to hear a voice, as everyone scurried around the room to find where the voice was coming from I looked over to the corner and saw who I immediately recognised to be Alice knocking from the inside of one of the mirrors. She was trying to get our attention, explain something to us but as soon as everyone had seen her she rushed away.
Suddenly, a gust of wind and a large bang, one of the walls fell away and down the rabbit hole we went. A corridor covered top to bottom, walls and ceiling – with pages from a story book. As we went deeper and deeper, the excitement built. Where were we going? No one was leading us around, we were a group of 30 strangers all muddling our way through the dimly lit passage…
EAT ME! DRINK ME!
The words are scribbled repeatedly in chalk against a dark purple wall in front of me. Either side are two doors, one huge, one hald my size. It was decision time…which road to take?
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
As we chose our paths (I chose ‘drink me’) we were all split up and went our separate ways to experience completely different adventures.
We followed the White Rabbit, a charming yet nervous character we all know and love. At this point I must mention the breathtaking costumes. I was already completely taken in by the magical surroundings and so it almost felt odd to recognise it as a ‘costume’ as opposed to a real life white rabbit, but now as I write this a week later having digested the experience, I have to take my hat off to the designer – Sam Wyer.
Getting into the Queen’s Wonderland quarters was tricky and the White Rabbit was taking a big risk, we were helped by some of the Queen’s S.U.I.T.S, smuggled in and given fake S.U.I.T permits.
I was given the S.U.I.T of clubs and so we were split up once again, this time into smaller groups and led in different directions.
Having made it into the the Queens quarters, we wondered around the grounds meeting various characters and hearing crazy stories.
First up was the Cheshire cat, giving a word of warning about the ongoing madness in Wonderland and spinning rhymes and riddles. Then onto the Queens kitchen and bakery.
We crawled our way through a fairy-lit garden to meet the wise old caterpillar. A tent filled with lanterns and shisha pipes, as he recited poetry and encouraged us to join his revolutionary movement against the Queen of Hearts. Then on to meet the twins Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee.
The performance culminated in a wild tea party set in the most impressive and outlandish of the rooms followed by a trial conducted by the Queen of Hearts.
“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.”
“Off with their heads!”
I can honestly say the show was one of the most brilliant, mesmerising, magical things I’ve ever seen. We finished the night with a trip to the Wonderland bar, where we enjoyed mysterious ‘Drink Me’ cocktails, pies from the lovely people at Pieminister, flamingo crochet, a very confusing maze and an incredible live band (with a surprise sing-a-long with the cast.)
Wonderland, you really were rather wonderful!
Jumpsuit – Girls On Film
Shoes – Little Mistress
Watch – Casio
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
Over and out,
Little Miss Winney x