Dante’s In Furlough – The Vaults

Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty

Director: Sam Carrack

Hanging out with the devil and his forced bride-to-be on their wedding night, journeying through several circles of hell harvesting innocent souls along the way, witnessing the demons and the damned – what’s not to like? An immersive theatre and cabaret show, spun through the Leake Street Vaults with the deep rumbles from the tracks above, delivers an unusual celebration of the most evil being the world has ever known,

Socially distanced groups are split at the start, then taken through a series of interactive scenes with their hosts rolling out the story of how Nancy came to be the devil’s bride before bringing everyone together for the cursed ceremony itself. Told as a sort of epic narrative poem (the whole thing is inspired by Billy Markham and the Devil by Shel Silverstein) with the feeling of a bluesy The Devil Went Down to Georgia rhythm, it’s a cracking way to get the audience involved – setting up a few games and challenges where we need to show how morally decrepit we can become in order to win souls as a gift for the happy couple. The final showdown between the Devil and his bride ups the stakes – as guests to the wedding can we leave with our souls intact?

It takes surprisingly little coaxing to get the audience involved in sinning for souls. The cast and creative team devised the work collectively – showing sympathy and intelligence of what an interactive audience wants from its nights out. There’s games, there’s a lot of laughs, there’s some incredibly filthy jokes (it’s hell, of course it’s filthy) and there’s no pressure to make it too interactive. Sometimes people just don’t want to get that involved and if that’s the case for an audience member here it feels like they’ll still get a great show even without the participation.

The performance is only possible thanks to the built environment in which it takes place. It covers the network of rooms and spaces within the Vaults, (design by Thomas Kirk Shannon with lighting and sound design by Clancy Flynn and Daffyd Gough respectively) decked out in nicely creepy gothic horror kitsch – all the fake cobwebs, shabby seats and creaking furniture you could ask for. Immersive theatre is all about the detail, and from start to finish they seem to have thought of everything here. With (a very decent, and suitably spooky) dinner for some ticketholders, and drinks for others through the wedding ceremony it almost feels civilised. That feeling is nicely destroyed by the Devil’s reminder that we’re all damned, sin wins, and we should do whatever we want and screw the consequences. He’s right – civilised is fine but this world they’ve created is much more appealing.

Runs until 30 December 2020

The Reviews Hub Score

Great celebration of evil

User Rating: 2.25 ( 12 votes)

The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Back to top button