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REVIEW | NeverLand - The Vaults, London.

The Vaults, London ★★★★

The Vaults in London come to life during the first half of the year when the VAULT Festival arrives. Until March 18 2018, over three hundred new shows take over a festival of festivals within their home beneath London's Waterloo station. This year's festival offers to be the biggest year with new venues, new bars, new food and plenty of surprises. The VAULT Festival offers the platform for artists to present innovative, daring work in London and this year's programme looks fantastic. As part of a trip with ibis hotel, 24 Hours in London I was able to watch one of those performances. NeverLand was an immersive experience I will never forget so I wanted to do a quick review!

NeverLand is performed by The Guild of Misrule and Theatre Deli. This newly created immersive musical is inspired by the timeless story by JM Barrie. This story is one of my favourites of all time, therefore I had a lot of expectations of what an immersive production could create from this story. The story itself isn't on Peter Pan, the story we all know from front to back but the creation of the iconic fictional character and the foundations in which the story was built on. We are introduced to the author JM Barrie, played by Dominic Hall and some of the real people that several of his characters in the story are based on.

It begins with the Llewelyn Davies Children getting ready for bed, their imaginations being brought to life by their fantasies and stories with a little from JM Barrie too. They are quick to begin interacting with the audience, drawing them in to participate in their stories.

There a lot of musical sections within the adventure and these are very good. The voices of Casey Andrews (Michael) and Humphrey Sitima (Curly) are particularly gorgeous. There was no need for microphones throughout the production as each performance could project well into  such a big performance space. Dominic Hall is the main thread as JM Barrie throughout the production and delivers a wonderful performance. His poignant monologue at the end of the show is a great close to the production.

The immersive elements of the show were truly entertaining, at any moment you could be swept away with one of the characters somewhere new. In these places, you are within an intimate moment and feel as though you are important to the action that is about to unfold. There was a lot of times that the audience was split up and sometimes this became chaotic and distracting. This seemed at the most unpredicted times, therefore it was easy to lose your understanding of the plot. Wherever you were placed there was also sometimes you could overhear a subplot and it distracted you from what you were witnessing. At times it was hard to know if you were supposed to follow a specific character or what.

However, with that in mind, the fun and the immersive element of the production really appealed to me and it was something I would definitely like to see more of in the future. I think there could have been more reworking into some of the immersive elements in order for there not to be so much confusion but all in all a real theatre experience with a difference. I loved how the small company transformed their blank space into a space that you can interactive with.

There's some great performance at the VAULT festival until March 18. You can find a full listing of performance on their website here.


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