ImmersiveLondonReviewVAULT Festival

Jekyll and Hyde -VAULT Festival, London

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Creators: Fire Hazard Games

Fire Hazard Games’ new show will have you dashing around London’s Waterloo and Southbank searching for clues. But to what avail? Without winners or losers, and without an engaging narrative Jekyll and Hyde fails both as a scavenger hunt and as an immersive theatrical experience.

Starting off in Leake Street Tunnel, opposite the entrance to the VAULT Festival, we’re told by the three actor/guides that something happened last night, but we can’t remember what. In order to refresh our memories we need to retrace our footsteps around Waterloo. What evil deeds will we recall?

We’re also told at this briefing that we are not competing against our fellow teams, and that immediately does put a dampener on things. Before we leave the tunnel we also check that the website works, accessed by our mobile phones, and then solve a few clues. These initial questions prove to the most difficult of the evening, as once we are released into the night, the clues are fairly easy to find.

In groups of two or three, you head off in various directions with a map to help you. The technology works well and there are no problems with typing in the answers or with receiving telegrams from the actors, but the memories the correct answers reveal are a little dull, and you don’t really have time to read them as you need to get to the next location and the next set of questions swiftly.

In Fire Hazard’s show of last summer, 80 Days; A Real World Adventure, there was a real sense of urgency as if you weren’t back in time you would have points knocked off. Also, there were winners here: whoever circumnavigated the world quickest won. In Jekyll and Hyde, there are no winners and our answers don’t seem to affect the outcome.

Our three actor/guides try to heighten the excitement by shouting and cajoling, but we have no investment in the story if we can’t change our destiny. The finale, in the cold, seems to go on for much too long. At least on the streets we were hurrying around, keeping warm.

And it is in the streets where the fun is to be had. Even areas you think you know quite well are seen in a new light, and you’re encouraged to search for details that you never knew existed. For establishing a new relationship with the city, Fire Hazard are to be commended, but this isn’t their best show.

Runs until 22 March 2020

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Lacks urgency

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