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HOT: Alice In Wonderland, Rippon Lea Gardens, Elsternwick

HOT: Alice in Wonderland, Rippon Lea Gardens, Elsternwick

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.

alice in wonderland ripponlea

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.

alice in wonderland ripponlea

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.

alice in wonderland ripponlea

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.

alice in wonderland ripponlea

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.

If you need to eat Rippon Lea Estate has the Gatehouse Tea Room and there are lots of cafes on Glen Eira Road near Ripponlea station, most of which seemed to be kid-friendly.

Read reviews of other Australian Shakespeare Company shows:

HOT Tips:

  • 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.

Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned entrepreneur. She combines her love for kids, food, travel and bikes into several passion projects.

She owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au; develops and produces bike-related creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com; and writes another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne with (non-kid related) reviews about things to do and places to go in Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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