Category Archives: Theatre
Feast on four courses as you join Toad, Badger and co.
Coming to London’s city farms this summer is a unique theatrical dining experience. Scripts for Supper launches its new production, The Wind In Willows, on 17 May 2019. Expect a fun and fabulous mix of great food, music, theatre, song and even dance.
Scripts for Supper comes from MasterChef 2016 semi-finalist Annie McKenzie with food by fellow MasterChef alum and finalist, chef and food writer Juanita Hennessey. The concept is classic stories brought to life with theatre and a bespoke menu. The actors double up as waiters so you are immersed into the Edwardian England inhabited by Toad, Badger, Mole and Ratty.
Diners are invited on a culinary, immersive theatrical journey in the new production of The Wind In The Willows, inspired by Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale. Launching at Stepney City Farm on 17 May 2019, it will also tour Spitalfields City Farm and Mudchute City Farm.
Scripts for Supper launched in 2017 following MA Acting graduate Annie’s appearance in MasterChef. Previous productions include Twelfth Night and The Lion; The Witch and The Wardrobe. Past experiences have won over critics, being hailed as “truly magical” and “phenomenal”. Scripts for Supper cater for children and vegetarians, as well as carnivores.
- Scripts for Supper presents The Wind In The Willows. 2019 dates: 17 – 19 May : Stepney City Farm; 24-26, 31 May and 1-2 June : Spitalfields City Farm; 29-30 June : Mudchute City Farm. Tickets: Adults £45 (inc welcome cocktails, canapes and a 4 course meal), Children £30. Times vary (matinee and evening sittings). For more information and booking, visit the Scripts for Supper website.
A special dining experience inspired by the hit fantasy drama.
Game Of Thrones is the show on everyone’s lips right now as the eighth and final series is currently hitting screens. Whether you’re aligned with the Lanisters or the Starks, there’s a special dining experience that could be right up your Westeros. Dinner Is Coming is a new immersive spoof dining adventure inspired by the hit fantasy drama. Guests can expect an exciting mix of theatre, comedy, food and murder in the tunnels below Waterloo station. The world of the Several Kingdoms will be created deep in the Vaults.
Dinner Is Coming, which launched in early April, tells the story of a marriage between heir Jaffrey Bearathon and Margarine Trywell. Guests will come together to celebrate the union of two families with a sumptuous feast. However, it won’t be smooth sailing, as there’s always a chance of violence or murder. Be prepared to pledge your love and loyalty to your kingdom.
The show is a new production from The Vaults’ creative team and directed by Sam Carrack. The fabulous feast has been designed by chefs Chavdar Todorov and Steven Estevez. Along with the food, guests will also enjoy a specially-designed drinks menu. Visitors will be invited to dress in accordance with their chosen house.
- Dinner Is Coming is on from 9 April – 14 July 2019. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo or Lambeth North. Tickets: £35-£55 (inc booking fees). Runs 3 hours. Bar open until late on Fri and Sats. Dress code: Lords and ladies of Easteros. Ages 18 and over. All dietary requirements catered for. For more information and tickets, visit The Vaults website.
Fool Britannia. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Vault Festival 2019.
One of the opening shows at this year’s Vault Festival was Fool Britannia. The two-man show is the brainchild of Dan Lees and Neil Frost, with the premise being an insight to Britain’s worst school. Lees and Frost’s company Mad Etiquette are famed for putting on shows combining modern clowning and interactive performances.
Arriving at the Brick Hall venue within the Vaults below Waterloo, we were a little worried when we were placed in the second row. When it comes to comedy and immersive theatre, I (like many others) prefer to stay far away from the accessible seating to the cast as possible over fears of being singled out. Fortunately, we needn’t have worried as the interactivity was at a perfectly comfortable level.
After a build up of some suitable school-esque music, such as Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, we were introduced to Lees, wearing a gown and mortar board as the headmaster of the so-called worst school. His beginning of term address eased us in to the humour style with some throwaway comments about some rather dodgy goings on in school, suggesting the headmaster wasn’t so professional as you would hope. His co-star Frost soon joined him on stage as a meek and terrified supply teacher, who we were invited to throw plastic balls at. The physical comedy continued as we were taken on a haphazard story through Britain’s history, with caveman being nonsensical, Hadrian getting dismal dating advice from his builder and Vikings rowing their boats. A scene educating us about Shakespeare and the snobbery around his plays was particularly funny.
During the history segments, the show felt like a series of sketches. I really liked their choice of handmade props, which really added to the silliness. As the one-hour show progressed, the audience had really got caught up in the silliness of it all and were drawn in at times to become a part of the narrative. It took me a while to warm up to the humour style, but by the end I was laughing along at the whole ridiculousness of it all.
- Vault Festival 2019 takes place from 23 January – 17 March 2019. The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo and Lambeth North. Other venues include Network Theatre, Travelling Through…, The Horse & Stables and Unit 9. For booking, visit the Vault Festival website. For more information on Mad Etiquette, visit their website.
For Metro Girl’s top shows to watch at this year’s Vault Festival, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London in February, click here.
Find out what shows to check out at this year’s Vault Festival, the capital’s very own fringe arts festival running from 23 January – 17 March.
Vault Festival is returning to Waterloo this January for two months of entertainment. London’s very own fringe festival is back in the atmospheric Victorian tunnels below Waterloo mainline station. Over eight weeks, over 2,000 artists will perform in over 400 shows. Londoners will be entertained by theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more. Now in its seventh year, Vault Festival runs from 23 January to 17 March 2019. As well as giving a platform to rising new talents from the arts world, proceeds from ticket sales go to Help Refugees and Child.org’s Team Mum campaign.
Here’s Metro Girl’s recommendations of shows to check out at the Vault Festival 2019:
- Fool Britannia
Pay a visit to Britain’s worst school! Masters of the absurd Dan Lees and Neil Frost take you back to your school days with an hour of side-splitting comedy. Taunt the supply teacher, bunk off PE and get caught smoking behind the bike shed.
23 – 26 January. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
- Yours Sincerely
A queer coming-of-age comedy exploring the complications of communicating in the 21st century. After accidentally stealing 300 2nd class stamps, Will Jackson decides to revive letter writing as he puts pen to paper and gets in touch with old friends and ex-boyfriends. Based on actual correspondence, Will tells the story through the letters and lip-sync cabaret. The show was originally produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2018 for their Foundry Artist festival.
30 January – 3 February. Cage @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
A thought-provoking new play by Sara Aniqah Malik explores what it means to be a Muslim in London today. Telling the story through two Muslim women using live music and performance, Salaam explores mental health issues and racial abuse.
30 January – 3 February. Cavern @ The Vaults. Tickets: £15. For more information and tickets, click here.
Go on a universal quest to find hope in a galaxy of loneliness. A lone astronaut is on a one-way mission the edge of the universe. This Dublin Fringe play is presented by Nessa Matthews with Eoghan Carrick.
Find out things to do in London this Christmas and December 2018.
It’s finally December! Although retailers have been pretending it’s the festive season for a month or more, it’s that time of year where things really crank up. All around town is a host of Christmas activities, pop-ups and events, with plenty of mulled booze and hot food on offer.
For a guide to London’s outdoor ice rinks this festive and winter season, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas pop-ups and festive cocktails, click here.
Find out what’s on in London on New Year’s Eve.
- 1 – 9 December : Spitalfields Music Festival
Spitalfields Music return with their winter festival. Acts include Richard Reeve Parry, Fidelio Trio, Mary Bevan and Katherine Manley, among others. Including concerts, promenade performances, walks and more. At various venues in the Spitalfields area including Shoreditch Church, Rich Mix and the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields. For booking, visit the Spitalfields Music website. Read Metro Girl’s review on last year’s festival.
- 1 – 16 December : Ally Pally Christmas Carnival
Celebrate the re-opening of the historic theatre with a host of Christmas activities over three consecutive weekends and some weekdays. Including Luna Cinema screenings, Christmas market, street food and drink, Santa’s Grotto, Horrible Histories’ Horrible Christmas, and more. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information, visit the Ally Pally website.
- Now until 2 December : London Illustration Fair
Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Entry: £10 advance. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo. For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- Now until 4 December : Foodflix @ Bluebird Chelsea
Weekly film night comes to Bluebird Chelsea in their new cosy orangery. Expect Cointreau cocktails, gourmet fast food, popcorn and modern classic films. Tickets: £25 (includes film, welcome Cointreau cocktail and a Bluebird hotdog or vegan burger). Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the Bluebird Chelsea website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the Foodflix.
- 4 – 8 December : Pigs Ear Beer And Cider Festival
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Opening hours TBC. Entry: £3 (CAMRA members), £5 (non-members). Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.
- 6 – 22 December : Enchanted Eltham
Late-night opening of Eltham Palace sees the Tudor and Art Deco buildings and gardens dazzle in a show of light, colour and sound. Follow the trail around the gardens. Also including fairground rides and hot food and drink on offer, including a roasting marshmallow pit. 4.30pm-9pm on Thu-Sun only. Tickets: Adults £12, Children 5-15 yrs £7.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace
- 7 – 9 December : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
Festive food event in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, featuring shopping, live music, mulled wine, seasonal demos, tastings, choirs and more. Tickets: Adults £19.20, Children £9.60. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website.
- 8 December : The Great Christmas Pudding Race
Watch or take part in the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden, which sees participants dressing up and raising money for Cancer Research UK. From 11am. Free for spectators. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Great Christmas Pudding Race website.
- Now until 9 December : Strange Days – Memories Of the Future
Video and films by 21 radical film-makers, presented as large-scale, multi-screen video installations. Tues-Sat 12pm-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. The Store X, 180 The Strand, WC2R 1EA. Nearest station: Temple or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the website.
- 10 – 30 December : The Four Realms at Christmas
Creative wizards Bompas & Parr have created a special, immersive Christmas experience, inspired by Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Enter the Land of Snowflakes, navigate the icy mirror maze, tickle your senses in the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets, before arriving at the Fourth Realm. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children 12 and under Free (but still need to register for a ticket). The Atrium, Westfield London, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, White City or Shepherd’s Bush Market. For more information and booking, visit the Westfield London website.
- 11 December : The Honeypot Children’s Charity’s Christmas Carol Concert
A night of festive entertainment and carols to raise money for The Honeypot Children charity. Featuring Portobello Live Choir, West End Kids and Alex Gibson Music. Complimentary mulled wine and mince pies following the concert. Doors open 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets: Adults and teens £15, Children under 12 £12. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For tickets, click here.
- 12 December : An Evening Of Cheese
Late-night opening of Borough Market celebrates cheese. Twenty of the Market’s renowned cheesemongers showcase their range of UK and International cheeses. There are also demo kitchens and tastings, carol singers and traders competing in the ‘cracking of the parmesan wheel’ competition. 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Borough Market, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website. Read Metro Girl’s blog on an Evening of Cheese.
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Coming to the Underbelly Festival Southbank for the end of the season is a tantalising and thrilling show. Combining cabaret, circus and performance in a dark and daring show from the Black Cat Cabaret. The company will be coming to the Spiegeltent to première their most ambitious show yet, Black Cat: Bohemia.
Opening on 22 August, the show will feature jaw-dropping acrobatics and toe-tapping music as the 12-strong troupe showcase their impressive skills. The production sees the smart and sexy cast bring the spirit of Bohemias past, from Montmartre to Weimar Berlin, from the Hotel Chelsea to the ’80s Blitz Kids, to the 21st century Southbank.
Among the dazzling performers will be flame-haired singer and host Miss Frisky (Frisky & Mannish); aerial daredevil Katharine Arnold; acrobatic duo Charlotte & Nicolas (Cirque du Soleil, Limbo); cyr wheel maestro Jo Moss; tumbler Leon Fagbemi (La Soirée); aerial feline LJ Marles; and burlesque goddess Missy Fatale.
- The Black Cat Cabaret is performing Bohemia at the Underbelly Festival from 22 August – 30 September 2018. At Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. Performances at 7.15pm (Tues-Sat) and 9.15pm (Sat only). Tickets from £19. For tickets and further information, visit the Black Cat Cabaret website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
School’s out for summer! August is, without a doubt, the busiest time in the capital. Parents and grandparents are taking to London’s parks and museums to entertain the kids, while tourists are arriving en masse to take advantage of our city’s fabulous sights and attractions. After a scorching few months in the capital, many Londoners will be hoping for more hot weather… although a few rainstorms may be welcome for our poor parched parks and not-so-green spaces. Across London, there’s plenty of events and festivals taking place this August. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best of the city this month.
Here’s a guide to London’s urban beaches and lidos.
- 3 August : Wear – an opera performance
Tête à Tête brings a modern, immersive opera production to King’s Cross, exploring the themes of fashion and the future. 8pm. Tickets: £7.50 (advance), £9.50 (on the door). The Crossing, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.
- 3 – 4 August : Cocktails In The City – London Summer
London’s best bars gather in one space for a festival of cocktails. Participating bars include Barrio, Mr Fogg’s, Cahoots, The Nightjar and The Cocktail Trading Co. Open Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-5pm and 5.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (inc welcome cocktail). Bedford Square Gardens, Fitzrovia, WC1B 3HH. Nearest station: Russell Square or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the Cocktails In The City website.
- 3 – 5 August : London Craft Beer Festival
Over 65 breweries from London, the UK, Europe and USA will be showing off 100s of beers. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs from Two Door Cinema Club, Hercules & Love Affair, Huey Morgan, Toddla T, Everything Everything, Trojan Sound System, Hip Hop Karaoke and more. Times vary. Tickets: £46.50 (includes free glass and unlimited small pours). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.
- Now until 3 August : Festibowl 2018
Festival of lawn bowling returns to the City every Thursday and Friday throughout the summer. There will also be DJs, street food and cocktails. 12pm-11pm. Tickets from £25. Finsbury Square, City of London, EC2A. Nearest stations: Moorgate, Liverpool Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the Festibowl website.
- Now until 3 August : Somnai
Experience a live, multi-sensory experience with immersive technologies including virtual reality. Somnai is said to be the biggest theatrical event since Punch Drunk and offers a ‘lucid dreaming’ experience. Over 18s only. 90 minutes long. Times vary. Tickets from £35. Somnai, 2 Pear Tree Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 3SB. Nearest stations: Old Street, Barbican or Farringdon. For booking and more information, visit the Somnai website. Read Metro Girl’s review.
- 4 August : London Tequila Festival
Live music and DJs, over 30 different Tequilas, Processions and piñatas, Tequila cocktail bar, tacos, fajitas and more. 12.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets £16.99-£22.99 (inc complimentary shot). Acklam Village Market, Acklam Road, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5TY. Nearest station: Ladbroke Grove. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.
- 7 – 11 August : Great British Beer Festival
Hundreds of real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers with be available to try, while there will also be plenty of entertainment and food. Tickets start from £11 advance (£14 on the door). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.
- 8 – 25 August : Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet
Immersive cinema company brings Baz Lurhmann’s vision of Verona Beach to the capital. Expect love, violence, Hawaiian shirts and a banging soundtrack in a five-hour outdoor festival, including screening. No cameras allowed. Times vary. Tickets start from £51.67. At a secret London location. For more information and tickets, visit the Secret Cinema website. Read Metro Girl’s review of a previous Secret Cinema event.
- 8 August – 2 September : Summer By The River – Outdoor Theatre
Watch a live outdoor performance of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by the Thames. Performances from Wed-Sat at 6pm, Sun at 4pm. Free entry. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, London Bridge, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website. Read the rest of this entry
Did you know there’s a beautiful Georgian village in the centre of London? Connaught Village is a quaint part of the Hyde Park Estate, full of boutiques and cosy restaurants. For its 150th anniversary this year, the village is celebrating with a series of events throughout the summer.
Taking place on Thursday 5 July, is an immersive ‘Walk through Time’ around Connaught Village. Visitors will be lead on a journey through the eras with food, drink, live music and street entertainment. The family friendly event will feature two performances from kids’ favourite Horrible Histories. The Birmingham Stage Company will educate and entertain with ‘Barmy Britain’ at 4pm and 5pm. Also on site will be costumed, re-enactment specialists, who will be telling the history of the area through interactive dance and music.
Children and creatives will have plenty to keep them occupied with free activities, including face-painting, flower crowns, a fashion illustrator and a silhouette cutter. Meanwhile, food and drink wizards Bompas and Parr will be showcasing their fabulous food art. Guests can see and taste their range of weird and wonderful flavours of jellies.
Retailers throughout the village will be taking part with in-store promotions and exclusive offers, free workshops, masterclasses and interactive activities. You can enjoy wine tasting at Connaught Cellars, vertical cheese tasting art Buchanans Cheesemonger or free vintage make-up and hair braiding at Fé Hair and Beauty.
- Connaught Village – A Walk Through Time takes place on 5 July 2018 from 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Connaught Village, W2 2AA. Nearest station: Marble Arch, Paddington or Lancaster Gate. For more information, visit the Connaught Village website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.
Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Numbered Days is a new award-winning play from Ryan Leder in his professional playwriting debut. The touring production, which ended its current run at Bromley on 20 April, is an intimate and intense modern romance about two young women struggling with their long-distance love.
Upon entering the theatre, the audience is immediately brought into the action. Oncology student Rebecca (Georgie Cunningham) is anxiously hanging around her bedroom, obviously waiting for someone or something, as we sit down and wait for the lights to dim. The front row is just inches away from Rebecca’s bed, bringing the audience in an awkwardly close intimacy with the main character’s private life.
Rebecca is in a long-distance, transatlantic romance with Irish student Charlotte (Joy Carleton), who has abandoned the Emerald Isle to live Stateside. It soon becomes apparent the pair have never met in person, but have been getting to know each other emotionally and sexually over Skype for some time. Despite their familiarity with each other, there are moments where it’s clear the pair still have a lot to learn about each other. Carefree and confident Charlotte sometimes struggles with Rebecca’s reluctance and insecurity and the looming, never-seen spectre of an over-bearing mother.
Most of the action takes place in Rebecca’s bedroom, with Charlotte projected on a mounted flat-screen television as the couple’s relationship progresses through video calls. There are quiet moments where the action slows and Rebecca is left alone in her thoughts, which really demonstrates the isolation and reality of living so far away from your partner. The scene changes were cleverly accompanied by voiceovers of real-life long-distance lovers talking about their experiences.
Leder’s engaging script really conveyed the intensity and uncertainty of long-distance romance. Cunningham and Carleton put on strong performances and gave honest and realistic portrayals of an inexperienced and awkward burgeoning couple. Despite being a story about a same-sex relationship, their sexuality isn’t the focus of the story and their rollercoaster journey reflects many young relationship experiences. Having had a long-distance relationship myself in the past, I certainly recognised the difficult dynamics of rarely seeing your lover. Cunningham’s emotional speech at the climax of the show really rode home the heart-breaking difficulties of the process. Although I didn’t hold out much hope for Charlotte and Rebecca as a long-term couple, there’s no denying their partnership would be an important and life-changing emotional landmark for the characters whatever the future may hold.
- The Spring tour for Numbered Days is now finished. Follow Theatre In Black on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with their future productions.
Anyone who read my blog often or follows my Instagram account has probably worked out I’m a fan of immersive theatre and experiences. The word has become somewhat of a buzzword in the events industry in recent years and I’ve had a range of brilliant to mediocre ‘immersive’ experiences. However, the recent resurgence in popularity of virtual reality (VR) technology, means this type of production can utilise another platform to expand their scope. Recently, a group of friends and I went along to Somnai, which has been described by its makers dotdotdot as a ‘live, multi-sensory experience with immersive technologies’.
Checking out the website ahead of its March launch, there were little clues on what a Somnai session would be like. The event is marketed as a type of sleep clinic, with the chilling warning ‘may cause acute death’. Now, of course, this warning cannot be taken literally, but speaking in past tense, it certainly gets your heart racing at points. Somnai is located in a large, unassuming warehouse in Clerkenwell. You are advised to avoid alcohol beforehand so my five sober friends and I arrived in the clinical white reception, slightly apprehensive about what lay ahead. We were ‘checked in’ to the clinic, as we handed in our bags and coats and were given a Fitbit, a dressing gown and padded sleep socks. One by one, we were taken into a small room, where silent assistants scanned our faces with 3D mapping, which all felt rather Black Mirror.
We started our experience in our group of six, meeting our sleep guide, an ethereal and spiritual woman who eased us into the experience with a few probing questions about our dreams (e.g. if you could fly anywhere, where would you go? What motivates you?). We start by winding down and relaxing with a bedtime story as we lie on a giant teddy bear, before zooming through the galaxy under a planetarium-style sky.
The main phase of Somnai is putting on our ‘sleep masks’ – our virtual reality masks – and beginning our VR journey. I haven’t tried virtual reality since its infancy in the 1990s and it’s certainly come on since then (and I would hope so too!). We moved through various surreal landscapes, from underwater kingdoms to grand canyons. Despite a part of my brain not knowing this was real, I found it quite unsettling to step off the side of a cliff or ledge, which was the process to changing ‘worlds’ or ‘zones’. In addition to what we were seeing, we could use our senses by touching, such as feeling the wooden plank ‘drawbridge’ we were crossing under my feet, or stroking the furry plant life in the ocean world. The whole VR experience was amazing and disorienting at the same time. Discussing it afterwards, I realised I had been quite fearful during it and had perhaps become too immersed in these bizarre environments we thought we were in.
Following the VR walkabout, our group was separated and two of us ended up in a very strange and spooky set of rooms. Without giving too much away, we were given a choice, ultimately made the wrong one, and ended our Somnai journey with a particularly scary 2nd session with the VR cameras. For this, our friends and I were reunited in a white hospital ward with masked attendants guiding us to lie in bed and putting on our ‘sleep masks’. I felt like we were in an asylum in a horror film. For the two of us who made the wrong choice, what we saw in the VR was rather unsettling and sent our heart rates up.
Finally, we all ended up in the digital bar, which is constantly evolving with different phases, each with a matching cocktail menu. If you download their app, your cocktail should do strange things when you scan it. With the app, we were able to check our heart rate throughout the process and see a quite horrifying (in my case!) 3D scan of my head. Overall, it was interestingly weird and enjoyable. The plot wasn’t quite coherent, but the mix of senses, VR sights and the cast provided a new and thought-provoking experience. Our group had much to discuss in the cocktail bar afterwards as we discussed our different experiences and interpreted meaning from the various surreal levels. If you’re intrigued about virtual reality, I recommend checking it out while it’s still on.
- Somnai, 2 Pear Tree Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 3SB. Nearest station: Farringdon or Old Street. Tickets: From £35 (discount for groups of six). On now until 3 August 2018. For booking, visit the Somnai website.