There’s something spooky happening underground.
An immersive theatre adventure is currently taking place in the cavernous tunnels located under London’s Waterloo station. The production takes the stories and concepts from R.L. Stine’s cult 90’s horror series Goosebumps, and brings them to life in a creative and creepy manner for an evening of wandering through tales of horror and wonder.
Upon arrival, the guests are divided into teams and led from room to room by silent and terrifying masked guards – then left alone to see each story brought to life by a team of actors and excellent set design. After the creepy conclusions, these silent stalwarts show up to lead you to your next story with startling efficiency. There’s more rooms than you’ll see in one visit so a return is advised – a clever marketing technique, but one that’s tempting to buy into.
The stories are wonderfully in line with those in the old books and TV shows – eerie, creepy and cheesy, with a glaringly obvious moral of the story thrown in. If ever there are reasons to do the right thing and not bully one’s peers or behave badly, they are present in these storylines.
Some stories and rooms are, admittedly, better than others. The opening two for our tour (a terrifying camera phone and an all encompassing monster mask) are entertaining and well set-up, but sit far more to the cheesy side of the spectrum than that of artistic substance.
Fortunately, other rooms are outstanding both in terms of artistic direction and entertainment. A strange tentacle-clad creature orchestrates the audience in a captivating and highly amusing bell-playing musical. His costuming is perfect for the show – odd, unsettling, uneven and extremely eye-catching and he lumbers wonderfully across the stage in an abandoned carnival setting. The puppetry in the ending is fantastic and there’s a great deal of creative imagination on display. There’s an eerie storytelling session inside a tent in the woods, but the best room is an elaborate and extremely well-built cornfield living in a large open room.
This is set-building at it’s finest – the rickety wooden barn is excellent; the slats in the wood are perfect at letting light creep in. The corn fields are made out of twisted brown paper and eerie scarecrows loom over the hay bales. The story delivers as well; it’s entertaining and full of moments to make you gasp and scream.
It’s not just shock and awe techniques that make Goosebumps an entertaining and frightening night out. A room built as an elevator allows tension to build internally and inevitably provides some of the scariest moments of the night.
The acting is solid, the storylines tied to the original concepts, the sets phenomenal and there’s plenty of entertainment and screams to form a very enjoyable and energetic night out. It’s not for the squeamish and faint of heart – but perfect for those looking for a riot of fun with friends.