The Australian Shakespeare Company always puts on a great show for families over the summer holidays and this year they’ve set up at Rippon Lea Gardens for an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland.
Unlike their previous production of Alice and Peter Pan in Neverland, the performance is not by the picturesque lake. Instead, it’s in a relatively narrow, hidden grassed area next to the fernery.
I don’t like the new location to be honest – the audience is not able to spread out and while the temporary marquees provide some welcome shade (and cover if it rains), everyone is a bit squashed underneath. People tend to sit in tight rows which makes it hard for people to see or for little ones to wriggle and manoeuvre, though it helps that children are invited to sit at the front.
I decide to take my chances with my wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen and set up my picnic rug and snacks right at the back, away from the marquee.
The production of Alice in Wonderland features characters and scenes from both of Lewis Carroll’s books: Alice in Wonderland the Alice Through the Looking Glass. As such, the show is quite long (at 90 minutes with no intermission ) though it is generally well paced, other than a rather long-winded Mad Hatters Tea Party segment.
Lady AB (8yo) and Baby 2.0 (6yo) are able to maintain their attention because the story and characters are so familiar to them and as usual with The Australian Shakespeare Company‘s performances there is lots of audience interaction, jokes and songs.
The fun highlight of the show (and a chance to stretch the legs) is the Queen’s Croquet Game. There’s much hilarity as the kids (‘little caterpillars’) crawl between the legs of a row of playing card adults!
After the performance, you can have your photo taken with the characters. Make sure you have some time to stay and explore the lovely gardens – there’s a lake, waterfall, fernery (my kids call it an enchanted forest) and more to see, and there’s usually a $10 fee for garden entry.
Read reviews of other Australian Shakespeare Company shows:
- parking with no limits in nearby streets, Hotham Street has 2 hour free parking;
- Ripponlea train station is 5-10 minute walk;
- bring a rug or low chairs to sit on and a picnic to munch;
- you can take prams right to the audience area;
- show ticket includes entry into the Rippon Lea Gardens, which are usually $10/$4 per person.
- you can also visit Rippon Lea House for $15/$9 per person;
- there’s no shelter so bring appropriate weather gear; and
- eat at one of the many cafes on Glen Eira Road afterwards.