Review: Relive The Goosebumps Books With Added Booze And Swearing
The dank, eerie labyrinth of Waterloo Vaults is the perfect setting for Goosebumps Alive, an immersive reincarnation of R.L. Stine's bestselling books for chill-seeking kids of the 1990s.
Actually, 'immersive' doesn't begin to describe it; costume, lighting, sound and special effects combine to create a complete — and completely creepy — underworld.
The journey starts in the bar (kids of the 90s are now, of course adults), which has a distinctly goth vibe. Tanked up on possibly the strongest cosmopolitan known to man (served in a giant syringe, naturally) we're escorted by hooded guides to a series of surprising/intriguing/shriek-worthy destinations.
Gloomy corridors are used to to their full potential — their twists and turns exploited to the max in a disorienting series of tunnels streaked with fluorescent paint and lights.
Slick as slime, the production is a logistical triumph as stories unfold and ghoulish cabarets performed in rotation; one minute we are watching three friends meet their doom over a magical typewriter, the next, sitting in a circular room that looks like a clock travelling back in time.
The ticket type assigned determines the scenarios that participants are exposed to, but we were ushered into a pitch black lift for five minutes, descended into a mad botanist's laboratory and huddled in a tent to listen to a ghost story.
Acting is energetic and fast-paced — if hammed up in places — and delightfully tongue in cheek. Apart from the odd jump, it's not really scary at all (unless you're claustrophobic) but then neither were R.L. Stine's books.
In fact, the humour and gentle suspense of the books is brilliantly recrafted for an adult audience — complete with the odd saucy joke and swear words that definitely weren't in the original .
Though the whole experience lasts 90 minutes, it feels much shorter. The buzz of running around this colourful, dilapidated, discombobulating world with a bunch of strangers has nowhere near worn off before the mesmerizing finale.
Goosebumps Alive is on at the Waterloo Vaults, Leake Street SE1 7NN, Tuesday- Sunday until 4 September. Tickets £32.50. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 14 April 2016