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Goosebumps Alive! at The Vaults, Waterloo

| Theatre, Things to do | 27/04/2016


By Shannon Rawlins

Most 90s kids are familiar with RL Stine’s Goosebumps collection – a series of books designed to scare the life out of anyone under the age of 14 with an overactive imagination.  With this in mind, I was extremely excited to hear that Waterloo’s The Vaults have created Goosebumps Alive! – an immersive theatre show based on the haunting tales from my childhood.  And even the recent film adaptation starring Jack Black hadn’t put me off, so I went along to the press launch with high hopes.

Cocktails are frozen or served in syringes

Cocktails are frozen or served in syringes

As with any press launch, I was immediately pleased by the offer of free drinks.  But these weren’t any ordinary drinks: an array of themed alcoholic beverages were on offer, including Cosmopolitans in a giant syringe and frozen cocktails.  A trip to The Vaults is always worth the novelty alone.

Groups are then split into four: spiders, snakes, rats and crows (I was the latter).  Be aware that each group takes a slightly different route and you are allocated a group automatically.

What follows is a ninety-minute trip around The Vaults, visiting different scenes, actors and Goosebumps tales.

From a mysterious cuckoo clock to a death-defying typewriter, the props immerse you in each performance and the set designs are decent, often making me forget I was underneath the busy capital city.  As for the actors, they were either good or bad – there wasn’t really an in-between (here’s looking at you, plant mad couple).

The stories are familiar and did give me a nice sense of nostalgia throughout, reminding me of some of my favourites including Night of the Living Dummy and Horrorland.  However, this was sometimes spoiled by the sounds of other shows plummeting through the walls.

What's On London enjoying some spine-tingling drinks at Goosebumps Alive!

What’s On London enjoying some spine-tingling drinks at Goosebumps Alive!

The difficulty I have with reviewing an immersive theatre experience is that all trips are different, and it’s difficult to explain much without spoiling it for future visitors.  Personally, I would find it hard to pay £35 for this experience, as I feel the tickets are slightly overpriced for the quality of acting you are given.

Additionally, although Goosebumps Alive! tries to wind the stories together, it ultimately fails with a disappointing final scene, in which all four group are brought together in the creepy surrounding of an abandoned tube station.  It seems a waste of a damn good setting as The Vaults provided a great opportunity to scare the visitors.  Perhaps they’ll have more success with the kids’ version opening in May.

Goosebumps Alive! is on now, with tickets available from:

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