“We are the controllers of the funfair, of the rabbit hole…of the dreams,” cries an eccentrically costumed showman as a three-dimensional kaleidoscope whirls into life.
The ride is one of the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed theatrical “experiences” designed to inject some pizzazz into the opening of Westgate Oxford, the £440m shopping centre that has replaced the city’s rundown 1970s scheme.
The spinning wall of coloured mirrors has a dizzying effect; when the ride ends, you stumble out blinking like a modern day Alice. It’s not Wonderland – the huge John Lewis in front of you confirms that. Rather, you have entered the realm of “shoppertainment”, a brave new world where retailers aren’t just in the business of trying to sell stuff – they are in showbusiness.
– Zoe Wood – Guardian