If you’re a fan of vintage or would love to time-travel, this new immersive experience could be right up your street. This December, revellers will have the chance to journey back to World War II with live music, adventures, cocktails and more.
‘Home Front: Immersive Time Travel’ will explore the untold stories from the 1940s, from the often ignored perspective of women, homosexuals and colonial soldiers. Upon arrival, guests will be asked a question and their answer can bring them in nine different directions. Follow your own story as you fight to get out of escape rooms, enjoy intimate performances and are forced to make a decision about your character’s future. Once your journey is completed, you’ll find out who your character was and their decision. The characters are based on real-life people, including a famous fighter pilot who lived openly as a homosexual, an Indian princess-turned-spy and other less well known London figures.
Time travellers will also be entertained with a live swing band and drinks from five separately themed bars. Guests’ entrance time will be staggered, with a range of ticket packages on sale.
- Home Front: Immersive Time Travel takes place on 2 December 2017 at a secret east London location. 5.15pm-10.30pm. Tickets start from £25. For booking, visit DesignMyNight.
For the latest what’s on in London guide, click here.
Returning to Waterloo this winter is the biggest Vault Festival to date. Now in its fifth year, the six-week long fringe event will be expanding to two further local venues in addition to its home beneath Waterloo station. There’s something for everyone with music, theatre, film, comedy, parties, food, drinking and more.
Among the highlights of the festival, will be the chance to step into Jay Gatsby’s world in an immersive theatrical experience of The Great Gatsby. Meanwhile, Superbolt Theatre return to the Vault Festival with two productions; their 2016 hit The Jurassic Parks, a hilarious spin on Spielberg’s blockbuster, and Mars Actually, a physical and funny vision of life on the red planet.
Turning circus on its head is Becoming Shades, a reimagining of the myth of Persephone using live music, aerial acrobatics, fire, dance and mime. The thought-provoking Thought To Flesh is a theatrical investigation into motor neuron disease (MND) using spoken word, multi-media and movement interpretation.
Meanwhile, movie fans will be able to enjoy the Vault’s Film Festival, featuring 20 different screenings. Among the premiers include dark_net staring Johnny Vegas and Love Comes Later, starring Sarita Choudhury (Homeland). There will also be a special screening of Red from award-winning director Branko Tomovic, a crime thriller about illegal backstreet surgery.
For party animals, the Vaults will be hosting late-night revelry every weekend, including the Galactic Love Valentine’s Ball, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), The Nudge’s Great Gatsby Party, as well as the festival’s opening and closing parties presented by Time Out London.
Aside from the entertainment, there are plenty of opportunities for drinking and eating. The Balkano Kitchen will be serving dishes inspired by chef Martin H Shaw’s travels in Eastern Europe. There will be five bars across the three venues, with two themed bars presented in collaboration with Meantime beer and Campari. One of the more intriguing drinking spots will be The Neath, an immersive, subterranean members bar for the supernatural produced and curated by the team behind The Crystal Maze.
- The Vaults Festival takes place from 25 January – 5 March 2017 at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN and Network Theatre, 246a Lower Road, Waterloo, SE1 8SJ. Nearest station: Waterloo. Shows will also be on at Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HT. Nearest station: Lambeth North (open from mid-Feb). For more information and tickets, visit The Vault Festival website.
For a guide to what else is on in March, click here.
Many of you have probably heard of Bompas & Parr, the food and drink wizards who have created a series of sensory, taste experiences. I visited their Alcoholic Architecture – a room full of inhalable alcohol in Borough Market earlier this year and was looking forward to visiting subsequent projects. When I heard about their special Christmas experience – Beyond The Waterfall – I knew it was right up my street. It combines an immersive theatrical experience and cocktails so I was eager to take part.
This week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to their special preview night. Beyond The Waterfall is located in the plush The Village area of Westfield London – surrounded by designer shops. The fact they have managed to turn what I presume was a standard retail unit into a magical land is pretty impressive. Standing outside the front door, we were treated to a glimpse of what to expect as we peered through the windows to see the gloomy and misty lagoon. Upon entering, we were greeted by who I would describe as glamorous nautical advisers, giving us warnings of what to expect and tokens to exchange later for fantastical concoctions.
The first part of the journey was across a 20 metre lagoon – yes, they have actually created a huge water feature in a shopping centre. We boarded small, individual boats and made our way up the lagoon – with varying degrees of success in terms of speed and direction, depending on your paddling skills! Fortunately, there are strategically placed seafarers along the way to guide or push you in the right direction – which is ultimately ‘beyond the waterfall’. Don’t worry, you won’t get wet (unless you want to!), as waterproof ponchos and a large umbrella for the actual waterfall part are provided.
A quick pit stop with a wise man gives you an insight into the faraway world you have travelled to and the chance to show off your drinking skills as you down your first cocktail – an interesting brown liquid in a bottle. Finally, we ended up in the hidden cavern – a mythical cocktail bar staffed by mermen and the very fabulous host Ruby. After being greeted with some welcome punch, we settled down to peruse the menu and mingle with the mermen, who entertained us with their various talents. The cocktail menu has been inspired by the sea and features unusual ingredients such as undersea botanicals, real gunpowder and rare ambergris. I ended up enjoying a Shipwreck Sour (Shipwreck cider brandy, Coral Calvados, Creme de Peche, lemon juice, shipwreck bitters and egg white), which was frothy and sweet.
Overall, we had a really fun experience. My friend and I embraced the spirit of the event and enjoyed the various flavours of alcohol we tried. The staff and entertainers we encountered along the way certainly brought a sense of adventure and theatrics so we felt a world away from the bustling shops of Westfield outside. The event has been so popular, further dates are likely to get added, so I really recommend keeping an eye out for more tickets.
- Beyond The Waterfall runs from 9 – 23 December 2016. At The Village, Westfield London, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, White City or Shepherd’s Bush Market. Open 4-10pm. Tickets are time-slotted and last 60 minutes. Tickets: £15 (includes 2 drink tokens). For tickets, visit Westfield London website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
Since opening in Spring 2015, Time Run has become one of the capital’s leading immersive gaming experiences. Following the success of the original mission, adventurous gamers can go to a whole new level with The Celestial Chain. The pioneering gameplay format will challenge teams to push their mental skill and dexterity. The Celestial Chain is an innovative, interactive experience giving participants the opportunity to travel through fast-paced time zones.
Edwardian adventurer, inventor and scientist Luna Fox and her eccentric, robotic sidekick Babbage will be recruiting Time Runners to battle an ancient force. A rogue goddess has escape from her prison – the titular Celestial Chain – and is wrecking havoc as she travels through time. Gamers will journey from the distant past to the future, finding lost and hidden artefacts along the way to capture the dark goddess before she changes the world forever.
Teams will be able to compete for higher scores against other Runners and revisit to try to beat their own achievements. Larger groups will be able to compete in The Celestial Chain. Over two hours, seven teams will be able to complete the experience. Novice and experienced gamers will come together in teams of 3-5 people as they move between time periods piecing the story together by solving puzzles and searching for clues.
Time Run was created by a team game designers, production specialists and live event organisers, with the original Lance of Longinus receiving rave reviews from gamers following its launch in 2015. The original mission is still running alongside The Celestial Chain.
- Time Run: The Celestial Chain runs from 24 November 2016 – 25 April 2018. At 9-15 Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8 3SB. Nearest station: London Fields. Tickets: Off peak (Tue–Fri before 5.30pm): from £25pp, Peak–(Tue-Fri 5.30pm onwards; all day weekends): from £35pp. Booking fees apply. Suitable for age 12+. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. For booking, visit the Time Run website.
This year marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl. And what better way to pay tribute to the legendary children’s author than by bringing two of his most memorable characters to life. Coming to London this autumn is gruesome, immersive theatrical dining experience Dinners At The Twits.
Located deep in The Vaults below Waterloo train station, guests will be treated to 90 minutes of entertainment from the worst hosts ever. Les Enfants Terribles, the company behind last year’s immersive hit show Alice’s Adventures Underground, have teamed up with real-life Willy Wonkas, food and drink wizards Bompas & Parr to create a unique evening experience.
Upon arrival, diners will be greeted with a potent cocktail using ingredients from Mr Twit’s garden. Chose between The Terrible Shrinks (Roly Poly Bird berry and orange vodka topped with soda, garnished with a scented helium balloon) or The Twits Garden Spritz (wild nettle and thistle-infused Aperol, wild strawberry vermouth, prosecco and soda, garnished with nettles and thistles).
Guests will then take their seats with Mr and Mrs Twit at their chaotic table for a special menu conceived by Bompas & Parr. The banquet will include Wormery LIVE, Glowing Hug Tight Glue, Treasures of the Compost Heap, Bird Pie – Your Night of a Thousand Claws and Bloater Paste. To finish, you can chomp on Mr Twit’s Beardy Bar, special chocolates created specially for Dinner At The Twits. Chocolatiers Rococo Chocolates have conceived a wonderous mix of their own milk chocolate with cereal, banana, yoghurt, lapsang souchong tea and honey.
Meanwhile, you’ll be able to wash it down with half a bottle of bag-in-box wine from St. John Wines and Mr Twit’s Odious Ale – a bespoke brew by East London’s 40FT Brewery using the native yeast from Roald Dahl’s actual writing chair.
After the theatrical dinner, guests are invited to relax in the Muggle-Wumps’ Downside Up Cocktail Cavern in The Vaults for deliciously bizarre concoctions. The Cocktail Cavern will be open to all, so members of the public too scared to experience the gruesome meal can enjoy a flavour of The Twits’ world.
- Dinner At The Twits runs from 4 September – 30 October 2016. The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. Minimum age 14+. Tickets: £80-£110 (feature a 90 minute show, arrival cocktail, banquet with wine, box of chocolates and hot beverage). Timings: Tues-Sat evenings: 6pm, 7.15pm and 8.30pm, Sat matinees: 12pm, 1.15pm and 2.30pm . Sundays 12pm, 1.15pm, 2.30pm and 3.45pm. For booking, visit The Twits dinner website.
- The Muggle-Wumps’ Downside Up Cocktail Cavern is open to the general public from 6pm-late Tues-Sat and has free entry.
To find out what is on in London in September, click here.
Goosebumps Alive: Discover what lurks beneath at The Vaults below Waterloo in an immersive spooky experience
It’s one of the most popular book series of all time, having spooked hundreds of millions of readers around the world. And now fans of the ’90s hit books Goosebumps can experience some of the scary tales coming to life in a new immersive, theatrical experience.
Lurking deep in the abandoned railway tunnels beneath Waterloo station will be scenes from some of American author R.L. Stine’s iconic stories, such as Stay Out Of The Basement, Night Of The Living Dummy and Say Cheese And Die! Audience members young and old will be taken on a journey testing their mettle as they venture from room to room. Among the experiences guests can expect will be being buried alive, witnessing a flock of birds crash into a window or being grappled by monsters!
The new production, which opens for previews on 6 April, will be split into two immersive experiences – Goosebumps Kids (for children aged 5-11) and Goosebumps Alive (Adults, but suitable for over 12s). Directed by Tom Salamon, the experience will also feature original artwork from original Goosebumps books illustrator Tim Jacobus and set design by Samuel Wyer (from last year’s Vaults production Alice’s Adventures Underground). The Tiger Lillies band will also be performing live intermittently during the run.
Kieron Vanstone, Director at The Vaults said: ‘I’ve wanted to take Goosebumps to the stage for years but had to make sure I could do justice to R.L. Stine’s trademark combination of horror and humour. Immersive events have become the lifeblood of London culture, from Punchdrunk to Secret Cinema, and Goosebumps is perfectly suited to the genre – these stories were made to be experienced up close, with every shiver, sound and unsettling sight! I’ve been a lifelong fan of Goosebumps – who could forget Night of the Living Dummy? – and am thrilled to be bringing these shows to London this year, along with some of the best creative talent around.’
- Goosebumps Alive is on from 14 April until 4 September 2016 (previews start 6 April), while Goosebumps Kids runs from 14 May until 4 September (Every weekend and Tues-Sunday during school holidays only). Tickets: Adults start from £32.50, Children from £15 (plus booking fees). The adult show lasts 90 minutes with entry times from Tues-Fri: 7-9.30pm, Sat 1.30-9.30pm and Sun 1.30-7.30pm. Kids show lasts 50 minutes with entry times from Sat-Sun 11am-12.30pm and school holidays Tues-Sun 11am-12.30pm.
- The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit Goosebumps Alive website.
Quadrophenia is widely regarded one of the classic cult films of the 1970s and is still captivating audiences over 36 years later. Loosely based on The Who’s 1973 rock opera, the movie told the story of a young mod Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels) and his adventures in 1964 London and Brighton.
This February, a one-off event is reuniting the cast and director of the iconic film for an immersive cinematic experience. As well as a screening of the 1979 film, there will also be an exclusive Q&A, live re-enactments, original Vespas, memorabilia and live music from The Who’s Who tribute band. Guests will be encouraged to dress the part with prizes for those in the ‘best threads’.
Reuniting for the evening for the Q&A will be director Franc Roddam and castmembers Phil Daniels (Jimmy Cooper), Toyah Wilcox (‘Monkey’), Trevor Laird (‘Ferdy’), Garry Cooper (Peter Fenton), Daniel Peacock (Danny), Mark Winget (Dave), Phil Davis (Chalky), John Altman (Johnny ‘John The Mod’ Fagin) and Jeremy Child (Agency Man).
- The Quadrophenia event takes place at Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH. Nearest station: Hammersmith. Event starts at 6pm on 11 February 2016. Standard tickets range from £30-£43 and VIP at £69.50. For tickets, visit EventimApollo.com and AXS.com.
A new boozy experience is coming to London… and this one doesn’t actually involve drinking at all. Alcoholic Architecture is a new venture from food wizards Bombas & Parr which will please even the laziest drinker. You won’t need to lift a finger to enjoy a cocktail, because you’ll simply inhale it.
Situated in a Victorian basement by Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral, Bombas & Parr have created the world’s first alcoholic weather system. Guests will wear protective suits as they enter a cloud of fine spirits and mixers at a ratio of 1:3. Instead of your traditional mouth entry system, alcohol will enter the blood stream through the body’s mucus membranes, such as the lungs and eyeballs! With the room full of clouds of alcohol and at a humidity level of 140%, it’ll be tricky to see far so slow and steady will be the way to travel. And here comes the science bit – by inhaling alcohol, it actually bypasses the liver, meaning you absorb less calories, but also means you can get the same effect by drinking 40 per cent less than you would do normally. Once inside, you’ll also have the opportunity to order further cocktails from the menu to complement the taste of the breathable mix.
With its location near the historic Southwark Cathedral, Bompas & Parr have drawn on the influence of the Gothic building and its previous site of a monastery with the design, staff uniforms and drinks menu. Guests can enjoy the tastes of spirits and beers created by monks, including Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and Buckfast.
Harry Parr, director of Bompas & Parr, said: ‘With Alcoholic Architecture we are going for maximal intensity of cocktail experience. With every breath you take, notice a fresh botanical or flavour in the spirit that can be hard to discern in a regular drink. Taste the cloud, savour the sky.’
Sam Bompas, director of Bompas & Parr, added: ‘Creatively the installation draws inspiration from Borough Market’s produce, medieval history and weather to create a sci-fi fantasy where meteorology and mixology collide. Visiting Alcoholic Architecture will generate the same sort of awe and wonder we have all probably experienced when gazing up at the night’s sky. Imagine Disney meets De Sade in Barbarella’s castle by way of Medieval Times with flagons of ale.’
Guests will be limited to an hour within the cloud to ensure responsible consumption of alcohol. Bombas & Parr have also worked with respiratory scientists and chemists to calculate the safe length of time to remain in the cloud.
- Alcoholic Architecture launches from 31st July 2015 for six months and will take place at One Cathedral Street, Borough Market, Borough, SE1 9DE. Nearest station: London Bridge. Tickets for hourly slots: £10 off peak (Mon, Tues and Wed all day, Thurs & Fri before 5pm), £12.50 peak (Thurs post-5pm, Fri post-4pm and Sat all day). For more information and booking, visit Bompas And Parr’s official website.
To find out about Bompas & Parr’s new British Museum Of Food at the same site, click here.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
Fans of the cult Nineties show Twin Peaks have recently found out the revival has been put on hold until 2017. So to whet their appetite in the meanwhile, a new immersive dining experience will transport London-based Twin Peakers into small-town America.
Coming to London in August 2015, The Owls Are Not What They Seem is a new adventure inspired by David Lynch’s surreal Washington town. Guests will feast on a three-course meal at the diner, including a slice of cherry pie and a ‘damn fine cup of coffee’, just like the one savoured by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. There will also be an entire evening of entertainment where visitors can meet the characters and immerse themselves in the installations and sets. The evening will finish in a late night bar with secret missions, bespoke cocktails and more theatre.
Guests are invited to dress the part so they fit right into small town life. Think surreal small town/extravagant Lynchian chic such as Agent Cooper’s smart suits, Shelley’s waitress uniform or the Log Lady. There will be nightly prizes for the best dressed.
The Owls Are Not What They Seem is a new experience by events specialists Lemonade And Laughing Gas, who specialise in immersive, hyper-theatrical experiences and encounters, who have teamed up with food design and experimental wizards Blanch & Shock. Tickets go on sale at 12pm on Friday 17 July 2015.
- The Owls Are Not What They Seem will take place in a secret London location from 27 August to 21 November 2015. Tickets on sale from 12pm on 17 July 2015. Tickets: £65. Preview tickets for 27, 28 & 29 August at £50. Bar-only tickets: £5. For more information and tickets, visit NotWhatTheySeem.com.
I don’t usually get political on my blog, nor is this an attempt to be. Regardless of your party affinity, I’m sure most people will agree that freedom of expression is an important right. As I write this review post a week after attending the Secret Cinema protest screening against censorship, Sony have now released their new film ‘The Interview’ after initially cancelling plans to do so.
However, just a week ago the story was very different. After weeks of embarrassing emails being leaked following a hack into Sony’s computer system, the Hollywood studio revealed it had received threats over ‘The Interview’, a movie about a fictional plot to kill the Communist nation’s leader Kim Jong-Un. In a move criticised by US President Barack Obama, Sony announced the film would not be released.
Before Sony’s U-turn and eventual release of the film online and at selected US movie theatres on Christmas Day, cinema event company Secret Cinema decided to host protest screenings in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Rome simultaneously on December 21. The message was to protest against the attack on freedom of expression which the threats against ‘The Interview’ represented. Organised in less than two days and in tradition of Secret Cinema events, ticket holders were given instructions to wear a black suit and bring a gift for someone. The London screening was £25 per ticket, which along with the other cities, contributed to a total of £11,500 raised for global free speech charity Article 19.
Several hours before the screening we were emailed with the location – the stunning 1930s Art Deco The Troxy cinema in Limehouse, east London. So armed with our tickets, some gifts for a stranger and wearing our black suits, my friend and I arrived at The Troxy promptly at 6.30pm. Upon entering, we walked past protest banners and placards depicting the right to freedom of expression. The cinema was set out with large tables and chairs – an unusual seating arrangement for a film screening, but gave a stylish formality to what would usually be casual proceedings. Aside from the screening, guests were also entertained by jazz singer Jordan Jackson and performance poet Adam Kammerling with a short talk by Article 19’s Barbora Bukovská explaining the importance of free speech. Overall, the evening was relaxed and sophisticated – despite the serious message behind the event.
An hour into the evening, it was revealed the film would be the 1940 classic ‘The Great Dictator’, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). The movie stars Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel, the ruthless and unhinged dictator of the fictional country of Tomainia – a thinly veiled version of Adolf Hitler and Germany. When the film was originally released, the US was still officially at peace with Germany so it caused some controversy. Unsurprisingly the film was banned in many countries in Europe as it appeared to criticise Hitler and his regime. My friend and I had never watched the film before and found it both funny and moving. The three and a half-minute speech directly to camera with Chaplin’s beliefs towards the end of the film is particularly powerful and still relevant today. The choice of movie for the Secret Cinema protest could not have been more apt within the current debate on censorship in film.
For Metro Girl’s review of Secret Cinema’s Back To The Future screening, click here.