Scared of the dark? If you're not, you may well be if you go to the Pleasance Theatre's Insti2ute. At most other theatrical horror shows around London like Ghost Stories and Terror 2010, the shocks come at arms length while you recline in a comfy seat for the duration. Insti2ute puts you bang in the middle of a developing and enveloping nightmare which starts seated but finishes with the audience running for their lives. The story follows on from last year’s Institute, describing how the Avernus Institute’s experiments led to 113 deaths and their labs being closed down. The Business, Innovation and Skills minister is keen to re-open the building, but is that such a wise move?
Obviously, we can’t tell you too much more about what happens during the 50-minute long show. Most of the action takes place in the disused building next door to the Pleasance. Described by the creators as “a unique promenade”, the audience are guided through the experience by characters who may not be what they seem. The plot has a touch of the Resident Evils about it which is no bad thing (how many other video games have spawned numerous sequels and four films?). You’ll be well advised to wear comfortable shoes and enter into the spirit of things as there is not much of a preamble before things get interesting.
The actors all do well in their roles and the backstage crew deserve plaudits for creating this modern house of horrors through impressive lighting, sound, costume, gore effects and writing. This is a worthy follow-up to last year’s show and we look forward to seeing what the writers come up with in 2011.
The Insti2ute runs 20th-31st October at the Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, Islington. Tickets cost £15 and are strictly over 16s only. For more information see the Pleasance website. We understand that all online tickets are sold out but there may be returns on the door.