Thanks to The Riverfront for inviting us to review Wonderland
The curious world of Alice in Wonderland is the inspiration for Wonderland, an interactive and immersive walk-through experience at The Riverfront Newport, this spring.
We headed along today and were so impressed with the whole experience. where nothing is as it seems and there’s plenty to make you think.
Visitors are invited to head down the rabbit hole (aka the stairs!) into an underground world full of neon lights, incredible artwork and optical illusions.
Everything is so creatively decorated, taking inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s much-loved novel and the Disney animation. The walls and ceilings are black, meaning all the bright decorations and installations really ‘pop’ in front of your eyes.
Our first stop was the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, where members of staff were decorating children’s faces or hands with UV paint. The table itself looked amazing with tea cups and crockery and even a Cheshire cat.
One of the walls is adorned with children’s Alice-inspired drawings, another you can sign your name with UV pen, and there are musical instruments to play.
The attention to detail everywhere we looked is so impressive. The experience has been created by The Escape Rooms Newport in conjunction with the Riverfront and they’ve done such a brilliant job of creating an unusual and enjoyable family experience.
The artwork on the walls, the walkways decorated to look like magical woods, the familiar characters – there’s so much to look at. It’s all so surreal and dreamlike.
It’s also really interactive too. Visitors can draw with light, hit a croquet ball through hoops made from giant playing cards just as in the film, enter an upside down room with furniture on the ceiling (looks great in photos, especially when you turn the photo round and you look like you’re standing on the ceiling), and even play a game of cards under the watch of a grinning Cheshire cat.
Another optical illusion means you can appear as through you are shrinking and growing, plus you can also appear as through you’re inside a ‘drink me’ bottle.
My children loved that elements of their clothing also glowed in the dark. A tip from us would be to wear something white and to take along anything UV reflective you may have to add to the fun.
In terms of age guidance, it’s definitely suitable for all. My children are 12, 10 and 8 and they were really impressed, especially with the optical illusions. We saw lots of younger children while we were there too who also looked to be having great fun. We were inside for around 45 minutes. Once you’ve been around the trail once, you end back up at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party again, and can journey around again if you wish, which is exactly what we did, as my children were keen to experience the optical illusions and see some of the artworks again.
In the words of Alice herself, “curiouser and curiouser” indeed.
Wonderland runs at The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre until Saturday 7 May. Standard tickets cost £8, concessions £6 with groups of four costing £23. Call the box office on 01633 656757 or book online.
There are adult-only events for those aged 18+ on Thursday 21 April, Friday 29 April and Friday 6 May at 8pm there will be special adults only events for ages 18+. Tickets costing £10 and these events include a live DJ set plus a cocktail bar at the Mad Hatters tea party.
On selected dates, Hummadruz Theatre Performances will add an extra element of adventure as they provide a unique performance creating UV theatre to music. Catch them on Saturday 16 April at 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm, and Saturday 23 April at 4-5pm and 5.30-6.30pm Hummadruz.
Check out the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram page (Stories and Reel) for videos from our visit to Wonderland.