The Vaults – until 22 March 2020
Reviewed by Donna Easton
The premise for tonight’s theatrical experience is a good one. It sounded like it ticked all the boxes for me in terms of theatre that’s immersive and a bit different from the norm.
We had to meet outside the entrance to The Vaults where there were quite a few people milling around so started with a bit of confusion until we were briefed by one of the team. The brief was….well brief! It gave the first answer to our first clue. We were warned not to speak to people not part of the action (actors were identifiable by a red carnation). A bit of the anticipation was lost here and maybe this could have been a chance to give us more of a set up.
Now, tonight being the coldest night of the year so far, I was hoping for a little bit of indoor (read warm) activity but this it seemed was not to be when we started on our journey looking for clues. The interactive website that accompanied the action was great and set everything up in terms of mood. The first actor gave us a map with all of our destinations and the experience began.
There are a couple of easy clues to start is off and then the actors start their opening ‘scene’. They did well in this unconventional space to compete with the passing trains and other members of the public. They broke away from the scene and we were able to have a more one on one experience with the actors who were engaging, funny and were doing a great job of rounding us all up and helping us with our next clues but just felt there was a story thread lacking here. The set up was that the previous night we were supposed to have drunk a serum that had resulted in memory loss and we had to go off in search of clues to piece the events together but I just didn’t feel there was enough for me to feel invested in what had happened which was a shame. Without sounding like a whiner, the real issue for me was the weather. It was just so cold and after answering our clues (some tricky, some easy) and walking around different parts of Waterloo we got a bit lost and started waning a little as it was starting to get even colder.
The final meeting point really was a disappointment (we couldn’t find it as my phone kept losing signal. Not their fault….a network issue but when the whole enjoyment relies on good signal, it did scupper the experience somewhat). The final meet was called the Hideout and we were hoping for a cosy Speakeasy with a hot drink and a ‘well done’ but <spoiler alert> it was another outdoor meeting point which I think was a missed opportunity to round up the events somewhere relaxed and an indoor space would have been a welcome finale to the evening.
We were the last ones back (much to the disappointment of my very competitive friend), had a final round up then we had a farewell and off we went.
It was fun. It was certainly a great idea. In my opinion, it is a pursuit for warmer temperatures (and better phone networks). Well done Fire Hazard. It really is a brilliantly put together concept and I will be looking out for the next one…..in the summer!