It’s been a while since I last posted on more general immersive experiences, but I should get a post out pretty soon. Before that, though, I wanted to highlight the Vault Festival – an arts and entertainment festival that takes place each year in the vaults under Waterloo station. Each year I trawl through the (literally) hundreds of shows, looking for things that push my buttons – usually immersive gaming experiences. The great news for fellow immersive gaming lovers is that the list of interactive experiences grows ever longer.
This list isn’t meant as recommendations. It’s purely to highlight a few shows that might be of interest to readers of this blog and, unless otherwise stated, I know nothing about the companies, let alone the shows they’re producing.
Escape the Jacket – Wed 23 Jan – Sun 3 Mar – £15
This list may be in chronological order, but the first entry is most definitely the show I’m most excited about, both because it’s an escape room and because I’ve seen great things by its creators in the past. Mostly Harmless launched their first escape game at the Vault Festival 2018 and returned later in the year with the popular Phobos 17, a game that packed fun puzzle, cool props and plenty of humour into a single shipping container. This time round, they’ve eschewed sci-fi and are heading back to escapology to create a 30-minute game for up to four players. Battle your past and search through the Magician’s history to free yourself before it’s too late…
The 37th Question – Sat 2 Feb 4:30pm – £10
A show where you watch a couple on a date answering 36 questions that are designed to make them fall in love (see the NY Times article if you want to know the origin). The twist is that the answers are chosen by the studio audience and that determines the couple’s fate (and presumably the answer to the 37th question!). The show was well received at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The Space Opera – Weds 6 – Sun 10 Feb – £12
It’s not clear how interactive this show is, or indeed what it’s about at all. All I know is that it’s a comic exploration of Space – a far easier place to live than among humanity…
Lamplighters – Fri 8 Feb – Fri 22 Feb – £12
Returning after a successful stint last year, this is one of the few shows that I’ve already been to. Think a John le Carré-style story with a single actor but a load of audience members getting bit parts (or more!). If you like Improv but still want a clear storyline running through the whole experience, I think this will fit the bill perfectly.
As I said last year, “Lamplighters may not have been what I expected, but it was absolutely what I wanted. With strong acting and fun audience interactions, there’s plenty to be impressed by. The next time it makes an appearance, head down with a group of friends, drop yourself in the front row and, when you’re feeling confident, raise your hand and channel your inner James Bond for the task that falls your way.”
Bring Them Home – Wed 20 Feb – Sun 3 Mar – £22
If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss about Megagames is, now’s your chance to try one out. If you have no idea what one is, it’s broadly a large-scale role-playing game where you work with and against other people to achieve a common goal while also achieving individual goals. Or something like that. In this (reasonably well known) one, you’re tasked with bringing a group of astronauts back from space.
Flight – Wed 20 Feb – Sun 24 Feb – £9
Fancy spending an hour in the dark in a shipping container? OK – that may not sound amazingly tempting, but check out the trailer for this game, which sees you sitting aboard a plane ready for take-off when – I assume – something goes not entirely right. Probably not one for those with a fear of flying…
The MMORPG Show III – Fri 22 Feb – Fri 1 Mar – £10
Scruffy Looking Nerd Herder is the third outing from Knightmare Live’s co-creator Paul Flannery. And, if you like being the centre of attention, three volunteers from the audience get to become main characters in the show. Previous iterations of the show were popular but, as the website says, it is fairly niche…
Call Your Mum – Sat 2 Mar – Sat 16 Mar – £10
I can’t even begin to guess what this is but, according to the website, you’re invited to present your mum to prove she’s the funniest of them all. Interactive? Most definitely if you want to – and presumably if you can get hold of your mum…
Werewolf: Live – Thu 7 Mar – Fri 8 Mar – £10
If you’ve never heard of Werewolf, the game, then you’re obviously not frequenting the same kind of cool parties that I do. It’s a social deduction game which is perfect for bringing together a medium-sized group of people and making friends hate you. In this stage version, actors take on the parts alongside one audience member to uncover those insidious werewolves…
That’s all folks
I hope that helped guide you towards some interesting and interactive shows at this year’s Vault Festival. If you fancy making an evening of it, then make sure you check out their website – there are literally hundreds of shows on over the six-week stint, so you’re bound to be able to combine a couple of things and make a fun and full evening of it. If you attend any of the above, please let me know what you think!