Friday 3 August 2018

Outdoor Theatre - Alice in Wonderland at Kew and Wakehurst this Summer

Years back I went to an outdoor concert, it was at a big fancy house in London, but I'm not sure where. I recall being really excited and my friend and I had packed a luxury picnic and some bubbly. Despite the torrential rain that fell on us that night we had the best time, sat on our outdoor chairs with big umbrellas over our heads! The atmosphere at outdoor events - concerts, theatre, festivals and the like - is just infectious.

Since that time I've wanted to find an event that I could take my children to, so they could experience the magic of watching something phenomenal whilst feeling the sun or cool breeze on their skin. With this in mind I was so excited to hear that the Australian Shakespeare Company is presenting exciting outdoor adaptations of classical texts in botanical gardens and other beautiful locations around the world.

Specifically they have bought Alice in Wonderland to life and will perform it at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 21st July through to 27th August 2018 and then head down to Wakehurst in West Sussex for performances from 30th August - 2nd September 2018.

Performance Details

  • Kew - Tuesday - Sunday 10.30am and additional 2pm performance on each Friday/ Saturday
  • Wakehurst - 2.30pm performance each day and 11am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Run Time - 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Tickets cost - Kew - Adult £22.90, Child £17.90 and group of 4 is £70.00. 
  • Tickets cost - Wakehurst - Adult £16.00, Child £12.90 and a group of 4 is £54.00.
  • The cost of your ticket for Wakehurst includes the cost of parking.
  • Kew members get a discount when they provide their membership number when booking for either venue. 
If you wish to book tickets for either venue, you can do so by clicking here. 

What can I expect?
Lewis Carroll’s classic story is cleverly lifted from the page and beautifully brought to life in Glenn Elston’s highly acclaimed production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Life is suddenly turned upside down for Alice, so join her as she tumbles down the rabbit hole and lands in the magical world of “Wonderland”. It’s a roller-coaster of a story as she bravely bounces from one unexpected and amazing situation to the next.

There’s a wildly curious assortment of characters. Bump into the constantly late White Rabbit, sing along with the Dodo and other birds in the Caucus Race and meet the pepper obsessed Duchess and her extremely crazy cook.

The Cheshire Cat will leave you with a grin and you can’t fail to spot Humpty Dumpty on his way to meet Tweedledum and Tweedledee as they tell the tale of the Walrus and the Carpenter.

What might seem slightly silly then becomes downright absurd as the Mad Hatter arrives with the March Hare and the Dormouse to have a grand old time with Alice at the tea party. As a magnificent finale, join the Queen of Hearts and her parade of cards. This is where everyone, both young and a perhaps a little bit older, can be part of the fun.

Presented in a bright performance style, with colourful costumes, interactive games and catchy songs this is a perfect way to go on a wonderful Wonderland adventure with the entire family.

Have a sneak peek and see for yourself, what fun this will be -

Useful Information
  • Make sure you have a printed copy of your ticket with you to gain entry.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before the performance time so you can walk to the appropriate area, use the toilet and get settled. 
  • The performance takes place in one location, so you won't need to move around
  • Bring a folding chair, picnic blanket or cushion with you to sit on as no seating is provided
  • The performance will go on even if it rains, just bring a brolly!  In the event of very heavy rain, the performance may be cancelled and you'll receive a text message/ email to advise you.
  • If you need help to know the best transport options for either Kew or Wakehurst, then check here. 
  • You can look around Kew or Wakehurst either before or after your performance without any additional cost, which is a super bonus and we are looking forward to taking full advantage of this. 
  • Address: Wakehurst - Ardingly, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 6TN
  • Address: Kew - 2 Lichfield Rd, Richmond, TW9 3JR. Use Victoria Gate entrance.
I hope you enjoy, I know we will! See you there...

Update 3 September 2018
We went to see the performance yesterday and we had such a fun time. In truth, our girls at 11 years old were right on the cusp of being too old for it. My husband commented that there were hints of CBBC about the performance. I'd say that ages 5 - 10 years would be perfect, but as long as you were happy to have a laugh and make a fool of yourself for a few minutes it was perfect for every age.

Genuinely, a smile didn't leave my face from the moment the production started to when it finished. It is realy high energy and the actors are magnificent, so professional and really captivating. We got there an hour early and were able to put our picnic blankets right at the front so we had a wonderful view and the actors get right up close to you.

The plot is very loosely based on the Alice in Wonderland story that you'd know, the songs are catchy, the set works well and their outfits are super fun. There are lots of points were the children (and the adults if they like) are encouraged to get involved and I liked that if I chose not to do the actions, I wasn't picked out or chastised, despite being in the front row. Towards the end everyone is invited to get up and join in with the Queen of Hearts game of croquet, this was fun and unexpected.

In all the performance lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes and it was high-intensity family fun, with a few twists of impromptu adult humour thrown in for good measure, I wouldn't hesitate to go and see the Australian Shakespeare again and Wakehurst is an amazing venue for outdoor theatre, it worked really well.

Disclosure: We'll be going to see the performance at Wakehurst in September and we can't wait. In exchange for our tickets, I've been very happy to publicise this event. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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