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Alice's Adventures Underground – Tom Syms, White Rabbit
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re an immersive theatre actor

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

…according to Tom Syms, 27.

Sanitary pads can help a sweaty actor stay dry

‘For my role as the White Rabbit, I wear this big rabbit head. It’s really heavy and you’re encased in it for three-and-half hours every night, so you sweat an awful lot and you can’t wipe it away. F1 drivers have the same problem, and it turns out that Nico Rosberg puts sanitary towels on his forehead. I slip some under the mask and they work like a dream.’

Mood music is very important

‘We listen to songs that fit our characters to help us get into the roles. For the White Rabbit it’s French electro – I like the idea of him in the dark tunnels listening to this grimy music.’

You get used to playing many roles

‘Because the audience comes through quite quickly, you have to repeat your scene every 15 minutes, so all 37 actors play a different part each night. We’d have to do it every day for at least four years to have the same people playing exactly the same parts again.’

Wardrobe malfunctions are inevitable

‘Once I leapt into the bathtub in the middle of my Dormouse scene and my trousers ripped right down the crotch. As I sat in the bath a woman kindly tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Dormouse, you might want to close your legs.”’

The audience doesn’t always behave

‘I once asked a woman to help with a scene, but instead she grabbed me and said: “Why can’t we go somewhere else and fuck?” Then I gave her some cards to hand out, and when I asked where they were she sat on the floor, spread her legs and said, “They’re in my vagina.” That was the closest I’ve ever come to completely breaking down.’

Alice’s Adventures Underground’ is at The Vaults until September 10.

Now discover the things you only know if you’re a London airport controller.

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