Immersive theatre in London is having its heyday with a bunch of mediocre pop-ups and a lack of actual epic performances BUT Séance, created by theatre company Darkfield, is probs worth a go.
At £7.50 for 20 minutes, you’re not getting a bargain but you are getting an experience worth more than half a boujee cocktail in the city. So, welcome to your second instalment of London Living and here’s what happened when 5 pals got locked in the dark, in a shipping container with 20 strangers.
What actually is it?
Yeah, good question. So basically every year the underground of Waterloo station is home to one of London’s biggest theatre festivals, VAULT festival. The festival hosts over 400 shows and 2,000 artists in a variety of venues around the area. One of the shows that’s on at the moment is Séance.
Now, I probably should have looked up what the word Séance meant before we went buuuuuttttt whatever it’s all fun and games. For those who are dumb like me, a Séance is ‘a meeting at which people attempt to make contact with the dead’ HA GREAT, GOOD ONE JEN.
C’mon Jen, enough of the chat, what happened?
So there we are, certainly not ready and I mean, not waiting to make contact with the dead and the lady who brings us round to the shipping container stops to give us a warning. HUH?
She babbles on with a little welcome speech, which soon turns into a:
- YOU WILL BE LOCKED INSIDE THE CONTAINER
- THERE IS NO LEAVING
- TAKE YOUR HEADPHONES OFF IF YOU GET SCARED.
Sorry, but what is going on?!
My pals CJ and Luke are ahead of me like giddy school boys, I’m there with my below average video skills as we enter the container. My other two pals, Connor and Arj are behind me but the dickheads have all sat on one side, leaving me to fend for myself, alone on the other.
It smells musty but bearable. There’s a table in the middle and what look like old cinema seats lining either side. Above the seats are a set of headphones for everyone. We’re instructed to put them on and the nice lady leaves. There’s a man five seats down who had his hands placed on the table, keeno must have watched the trailer or something as 30 seconds later we’re instructed to place our hands on the table, loser.
The lights go down, it’s pitch black and someone enters the container. The door slams shut behind them and it turns out we are all there to summon a dead spirit –– a cushty Thursday night.
A man’s voice booms through your ear, people start climbing onto the table as your fingers curl in to avoid their feet but you don’t dare take your hands off the table or the spirit will take over. One by one, someone is plucked from the audience and invited to ‘believe’ in the spirit. A pulsating, salivating, whisper echoes silently in your ear as you uncomfortably sink your neck down into your body. Then, the spirit attempts to enter you.
BUT HOLD ON FELLAS, none of it’s real. Darkfield have cleverly manipulated the use of sound and movement that it forces you to question what’s really there and what isn’t. It’s certainly no Punchdrunk, Secret Cinema or You Me Bum Bum Train affair (yeah, I know my London based immersive theatre bitch) but it’s definitely an interesting experience. Maybe someone did come in and slam the door shut? Maybe someone did really cause the table to vibrate? Whatever you choose to believe, this is an intense 20 minute experience.
The lights come up and everyone does that slight awkward smile towards each other as you do with strangers. Then a raucous laughter bursts through. Why? Remember what I just said about not taking your hands off the table, yeah CJ and Arj are the only people who did. Literal strangers are laughing at them hahaha. Worth noting this show is for age 12+…
We make our way out of the container, every other person in the group starts talking about it as the five of us rush to retrieve the bottles of wine we left at a bar 2 seconds down the road, priorities innit.
Worth it then?
If you’re looking for something a bit different to do that won’t break ya bank then definitely hit up VAULT festival. There’s tons of shows to choose from and you can take some sick photos, enjoy some food and sink some bevs in Leake Street Tunnel, where the festival is located.
Got any questions, hit me up. Want to go to a show but have no one to go with? Don’t ask me, find someone else.
I’M JOKING, for sure I’d love to go, just shoot me a message. Details and more pics/vids below, check it outttttt.
In a bit xo
What? Séance @ VAULT Festival
Where? Leake St, Lambeth, London SE1 7AD
When? 23 Jan – 17 March 2019
How much? £7.50