A Surprise Party Gets Even More Surprising In This Dark And Immersive Experience

Souvenir, Various locations ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 8 months ago

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A Surprise Party Gets Even More Surprising In This Dark And Immersive Experience Souvenir, Various locations 4

I've rocked up to a fancy pad in Fitzrovia to help Anna celebrate her 30th birthday. The thing is I don't even know who Anna is. No, I'm not a token plus one — I genuinely have no idea who anyone at this party is.

That's the starting premise of Souvenir — an immersive theatre experience by production company Any One Thing, following on from their Bermondsey based memory stealing escapade.

This is a compact story set entirely within one room that starts off as a pleasant mixer as we all get to know each other before the guest of honour arrives — it's largely spent asking probing questions to figure out who are fellow befuddled guests like me, and who the actors are. It's not easy to figure this out as everyone is trying to play along and act as if they actually know Anna.

When Anna arrives, shepherded in by her equally good looking boyfriend Richard, we all spring out of the shadows and yell 'Surprise!'. But that's not where the surprises end, as there are dark twists ahead.

After we're all served cake and we pose for jovial snaps, a domestic starts bubbling away... and we've all got a very uncomfortable front seat. If this was a couple of my friends I'd make my excuses and hit the door, but in this instance I'm held rapt by the unfolding mystery — even if it's happening very close to me and I'm not entirely sure if we should stay out of it or try and defuse the tension.

Unnervingly they've even done their research on the guests, casually throwing in that I'd recently been to the White Cube gallery (I had) in the middle of a heated argument.

We won't spoil anything other than to say that the plot is very Black Mirror-esque. It made us question our own feelings towards love and what we would do in the same situation. All the theatre goers are encouraged to head to a pub after and we ended up discussing the production at length — a sure fire sign that Souvenir hits the mark.

The intimate show hinges on the actors who are all convincing and while we've been to our fair share of surprise parties, we doubt we'll ever be as surprised or as disturbed as we were by this dark tale.

Any One Thing's: Souvenir is taking place at various venues across London and new dates will continue to be released. Tickets are £34 to be placed on a wait list and £57 to guarantee a place.

Last Updated 27 November 2019