Written in 1865 and 1871 by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two of the most influential works of literature in British history. The Cheshire-born author is hailed as one of the originators of the fantasy fiction genre, a prime example of literary nonsense, and continues to be a prominent form of inspiration and reference in pop culture.
Now, hospitality firm The Doxford Group looks to bring a distinctly Wonderland experience to visitors of Alnwick. With The Tempus, the new hotel, bar, and restaurant will represent a distinctly quirky venue, with pre-opening photographs showing incredible bursts of color and bizarre patterns. As a boutique venue, the 150-acre estate has a license to play with such eccentric themes, with Jeffreys Interiors helming the designs.
The grand opening of The Tempus is still some time away, with an “early 2023” window penciled in. Until then, there are plenty of other ways, besides the famous Tim Burton theatrical releases, to venture into Wonderland. As the setting is so beloved and well-explored beyond Carroll’s books, you won’t be hard-pressed to find an entertainment product that’s anchored to the fantastical world that Alice explores.
References rife across music
Cheshire might not be the biggest scene for music, historically, even with The 1975 hailing from the area, but that hasn’t inhibited Carroll’s iconic story from getting referenced across the music world. Common themes often drawn on include Alice’s brave steps into Wonderland or “going down the rabbit hole,” the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and especially the psychedelic, fantastical hallucinatory experience of the setting.
Boeing Duveen and The Beautiful Soup owe much of its naming inspiration to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, including the band’s name. The 1968 single Jabberwock and Which Dreamed It draws from Through the Looking Glass. Being a psychedelic rock band from Britain, this fits the theme very nicely. Along with them, Marilyn Manson referenced the book to describe Eat Me, Drink Me, while Lady Gaga’s Alice opens with a reference to Alice looking for Wonderland.
Wonderland brought to life
Perhaps the best way to see Wonderland beyond the words on the page is on your screen, be it mobile, laptop, or TV. One of the biggest shows of its day, Lost (2004-2010), was heavily influenced by the story of Alice in Wonderland, particularly thematically. With the inclusion of alternate realities, it’s easy to see where the basis of the strange occurrences in Lost found their footing in the television show.
The big screen has also played host to a great many versions and adaptations of Carroll’s work, with many taking the more sinister, creepy, and even horror-driven approach. Taking the book literally as opposed to a fantastical world, placing the beings and events in a more real-world context, can certainly present a scary story. Red Kingdom Rising (2014), Malice in Wonderland (2009), Alice (1988), Dreamchild (1985), and even the first Resident Evil movie all lean – intentionally or not – into a darker recount of the themes in the novel.
Then again, most who know the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland enjoy it for its quirky characters, bizarre setting, and vivid landscape filled with colors and crazy landmarks. This is the side of the story that inspired Adventures Beyond Wonderland Live. The online casino game combines a live-streamed game host and a giant spinning wheel with Magic Dice, Wonderspins, and more wacky events. When the randomized wheel ticker lands, the players could win bets or trigger the Wonderland action in the distinctly quirky studio.
Hands-on in Wonderland
While there’s a lot of hype around for superhero games like Gotham Knights and Marvel’s Midnight Suns at the minute, as well as the smash-hit God of War Ragnarök and upcoming The Callisto Protocol, arguably, most fantasy games lend a nod to Carroll’s Wonderland. Being a very early depiction of a fantastical world with curious happenings and nonsensical creatures, you can see its fingerprints, very generally, in most big-hit fantasy games.
Most recently, you could see Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands as a play on the crazy world created in 1865, especially by thrusting the quite mad Tiny Tina into such absurd settings. In a much more overt way, there have been several Alice in Wonderland games that put the inspiration front and center. Perhaps the best was the two titles from Rogue Entertainment. American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns both lean into a very cruel and unforgiving telling of Wonderland as you navigate the realms as Alice.
The Tempus and its Wonderland-inspired rooms won’t open until early in 2023, but until then, there are many different ways for you to venture into the fantastical world created so long ago.