Swell Mob Review

Colab Factory – until 25 August 2019

Review by Elizabeth J Smith


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hop onto a time machine and go back in time to experience a different era. What did people wear? What did they drink? What did the do to survive? How did it smell?

Well wonder no more. 

Just hop on the train to London Bridge, take a short walk to the Colab Factory and let the adventure begin.

I was little apprehensive on arrival when asked to sign a disclaimer! What was I letting myself in for. After being assured it was all part of the experience, I was excited as to what this was all about.

You enter a Victorian tavern and are greeted by numerous  characters in costume with extraordinary make up. This is where the interaction begins. It felt like going into a bustling pub where your not to sure of the clientele. 

You check in with the house mistress in her teller stall where you a given your nights spending. There are some unsavoury chaps lingering around, a cheeky chappy who would like to unburden you of said money at this gaming table. The accordion player sings happily in the corner encouraging all the crowd to join in with his sing along. I particularly like the song about a Cockerel!! Making your way to the bar to buy your gin or rum, I had “Mothers ruin” which apparently had been brewed in a bath tub. It was very good. All the while new characters are introducing themselves to you, while a sub plot goes on around you. Moving on from the bar to an underground labyrinth of rooms where you explore in all the nocks and crannies looking for clues.You are then summoned to the boxing ring to watch two lads go for it. Extremely well choreographed, as they slam each other onto a very hard looking floor. All the while mingling with other characters of the time, engaging in stories of their lives and who they are all answerable to.

Having no idea initially, what I was about to see it really was a spectacle to behold. Like jumping into the screen of a movie. 

Congratulations to all the actors who completely stay in character with the face to face audience and the setting really feels dim and dank, just as you would imagine a 1800’s tavern would be like.

So brush off your Victorian garb and head down to the Colab factory for an unusual, fascinating, immersing evening.