The Swell Mob – REVIEW

The Swell Mob – REVIEW

Colab Factory, London

★★★                         (Concept ★★★★★)

The Swell Mob

Colab Factory, London


Reviewed by Jade Prince

Seen May 9th, 2019

★★★                         (Concept ★★★★★)

The Swell Mob. Where do I start with The Swell Mob?

Another incredibly promising show which unfortunately fell flat. I suppose it did have an impact on me, I left questioning what I had just experienced and the show has stayed with me. Just not for the right reasons.

I am going to be vague as possible with the plot as describing it will reveal spoilers. With this show it is best not to know what the story is however knowing how to respond is key. I’m pretty sure that won’t make sense but please bear with me!

Situated next to an already well-established immersive theatre experience, The Swell Mob is left in the shadows.

The concept for this show is outstanding. This is partly why it pains me to write this 3 star review. The 3 star review is purely based on what I experienced on the night. If an opportunity came around meaning I could see the show again, I would without hesitation in the hope my current view would be changed.

The Swell Mob is unlike any other immersive theatre I have experienced. Instead of being taken through the story, you have control on how it played out which I loved! It was hands-on, immersive (as you’d hope) and stimulating.

I’m just going to go straight in for it…I didn’t get a full show. An abrupt ending is never good in my opinion. But what is worse is when the audience can’t distinguish the end of the show and are just left there lingering until stage management informs you that it is in fact the end of the show….go home!

The audience for this particular performance we attended never saw the end of the show. The run time is very limited and appeared to require precise audience actions for the story to progress.

From the get-go, it was evident that the audience was very unsure on what was happening. The show came up late (the venue doors didn’t open until after the scheduled start time) which normally isn’t an issue but when you have 75 minutes for the show with the second show so soon after the first ends, it becomes a very risky game. On two show days at The Swell Mob, show 1 goes up at 16:30/19:15 with show 2 staring at 19:15/21:00. On most days its a 30 minute turn around, theres hardly any time factored in for any possible mishaps resulting in the audience missing the scripted finale.

After being let in late, we all hung around in the first room which conveniently had the bar! A tankard of gin for me please! This was our first real encounter with the cast.

It was a very awkward first 10 minutes. 10 minutes of a very limited time when the story could have moved forward. Eventually other audience members started to notice that we had to purchase a ticket in order to move forward. Don’t worry, the ‘currency’ is provided upon arrival!

Finally, scene 2 began! In the depths of the basement (the same basement where I had a drunk night of poker…ha!) the full labyrinth came into view. Once again, everyone was little uncertain as to where they could go and even what they should do. I took it upon myself to start exploring. This then let to the discovery that you can actually touch props, open draws and find hidden clues. Another chunk taken from our limited time.

Without giving too much of the plot away, multiple clues have to be found in order to free the spirits. Its a mixture of riddles and finding items in order to unlock the ending.

The sections of searching were broken up nicely with scenes acted by the cast however it was difficult to know when these were happening and could have easily been missed due to the set up of the building.

Once we got into the flow of things and knew the boundaries, it was great fun interacting with the characters. I managed to get very hands on. You feel like you have really contributed. It was so easy to get sucked into the atmosphere.

The cast were also fabulous to interact with and could be found roaming the entire building.

The main downfall of The Swell Mob was the lack of guidance from the cast/stage management. The concept was wonderful and I adore the (almost) escape room-vibe. It just took far too long for people to understand what was going on and as a result we never received the full story that night. It would have been amazing if the cast moved the story along if they saw the audience struggling to do this themselves. It would avoid the disheartened feeling of ‘was that it?’ as we left.

I really wanted to rate this higher but the incredible cast and mind-blowing sets just weren’t enough to offset the incomplete story/experience. I’m not saying this happens every night. It could have been an off night.

The Swell Mob is at the Colab Factory until July 28th (only open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). More information can be found here.

If you have been, we want to know your thoughts with this one. Did you get the full story?! Let us know! 


The Grand Expedition – REVIEW

The Grand Expedition

Top secret location!!!!

★★★★★ and all the stars between here and the moon!

The Grand Expedition

Top secret London location!!!!


Reviewed by Jade Prince

Seen February 26th, 2019

★★★★★ and all the stars between here and the moon!

I can’t rave about this enough! The two and a half/three hours spent with GingerLine were a dream. For those who love both theatre and food, your time has come. There is a place where the two worlds intertwine!

GingerLine has a reputation for creating journeys for their audience members that not only teleport them to another world but also sets their taste buds alight. With past adventures including Juniper Manor, The Faculty of Eatucation, and Chambers of Flavour (V 1, 2 & 3) where tickets sold out in a blink of an eye. It is safe to say that this one appears to be following suit.

This was my first GingerLine experience and, in all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. After all, it isn’t every day one gets to indulge in an immersive dining experience. 

For those not familiar with immersive dining, you still get the theatrical story however the food is part of this story. They compliment each other perfectly; enriching all your senses. This type of immersive theatre has really taken off over the past few years with GingerLine paving the way.

Now, the event itself…

Just like any grand expedition, the destination is always in mind but never visible until the final stretch. In this case, 4pm on the day! The location is finally revealed but contrary to popular belief, it is not on the ginger line this time.

We stepped into the clouds and were sworn to secrecy. You really need the element of surprise to add to the wow factor! I can’t be giving away all their secrets! That being said, we have been granted special permission to share some production shots in order to give you a tiny glimpse into this “floating, feeding, falling dream”.

Throughout the night the action is delivered straight to the table. No need to move and trust me, with the amount of delicious food served, you did not want to move!

Majestic poetry carries you through a world where whimsical choreography, larger than life characters, hand-drawn animations, exquisite set design and explosions of flavour flow seamlessly together.

The night was meticulously planned so nothing felt rushed. There was always something to entertain and for those with wondering eyes, like myself, an endless amount of detail to discover.

I had opted for the vegetarian menu to sample for our vegetarian audience and was delighted with the way these dietary requirements were handled. Everyone was catered for all at the same time. And the presentation of the dishes remained the same. I also have to add, the vegetarian menu was delicious!

After floating, being fed and then gently falling back down to earth, it was time to finish our grand expedition. My taste buds have sampled exotic cuisine and everything just tastes bland now!

We’ll have to go on another grand expedition.

Seriously, you need to experience this. Initially, I thought it was a bit pricey but now I have experienced everything you receive and with it all to a very high standard, it is worth every penny!

Tickets and more information can be found here.

There are new worlds waiting for you!

Alice’s Adventures Underground – REVIEW

Alice’s Adventures Underground 

The Vaults, London


Alice’s Adventures Underground

The Vaults, London


Seen on September 14th, 2017

Reviewed by Jade Prince


On Thursday evening I took a little tumble down to the vaults and into their enchanting world of Wonderland. The hour and a half immersive experience takes you to every possible destination in Wonderland to meet the iconic characters everybody knows so well but DON’T TOUCH THE TARTS! This unique immersive theatre experience is back due to popular demand after its successful run last year and is inspiring a whole new world of immersive theatre.

Heading into the venue you were really transported to Wonderland. The theming was great from the onset. My friend and I had decided to get there early as we wanted to enjoy what was on offer in ‘The Wonderland Bar’. However, disappointment quickly set in. I like to make my reviews of the whole theatre experience as honest as possible and this is what I shall continue to do for this review. As we collected our tickets we were informed that we had to drop all coats and bags off at the cloak room, which was expected. The only issue being was that we then had to pay for this service. I found it very wrong to inforce a £1 per item charge for something that was required. I paid and put this issue to the side. To the bar for cocktails! More disappointment. The drinks menu looked great and I was so ready to try one of the themed cocktails. I ended up paying £9 for a small glass of squash instead of a cocktail. Watching the bar tender pour the drink and it only fill half the small glass which was then rectified with…more ice! There was no thought or care in making the drinks. I felt rather cheated. Which is a shame because the cocktail menu looked brilliant with magic elements to each cocktail. It wasn’t until we bumped into Rhea (FOH manager) that the night started to improve. She was so helpful. Had all the information we were looking for regarding the bar after the show. You could tell she was a great person who really loves her job! Thank you, Rhea!

Right, enough with the bar and on with the show! I really liked the way that an announcement was made through the bar when calling the people through for the next time slot. The Vaults are very strict on their ‘no late comers admitted’ policy so did everything and more to make sure that you were there for your entry time. Multiple announcements, projection images/clock on the main wall by the box office and even stage management and FOH running around gathering the stragglers. The way Alice’s Adventures Underground works is that throughout the evening performance times are staggered at every quarter of the hour where a new group will enter the show. The last group of the night were called forward and we headed into our waiting pen. The excitement grew as we had no idea what to expect and this excitement was fuelled further with the little glimpses of the entrance tunnel. Wow! Is all I can say about the first room/pre-show room. 10/10 for the theming. We had a little time to explore the whole room. It was so interactive, there were books to pick up, pianos to play, teddy bears and so much more. There were some elements of distortion which really worked well for the beginning of the transition from reality to Wonderland. Holograms of a girl appeared in different locations around the room when the show was about to start just to add a little more to the disorientation.

Then the real adventure down to Wonderland began! Into a life size zoetrope, the story telling continued. We then finally came into contact with the first of many actors. It was great to actually be given the choice as to which way we went through the maze: eat me or drink me! At this point the group split in two, red and black. We were taken through to the next section (Wonderland Boarding) and given some of the maze rules, obviously all in keeping with the theme and slipped into the script wonderfully. Then it was time to be split further, into our suits. It was really cute how we were all handed an individual card from a pack which obviously stated our suit and number. I personally found that the experience worked a lot better when we were in these smaller groups. It enabled a lot more interaction and a lot less pushing. It was a much more comfortable size in comparison to the larger group initially which was far too big.

We were taken threw the warren of rooms and I won’t go into detail with all of the rooms as it will make this post much longer than it is already, also, I don’t want to spoil all the fun! My personal favourite room was Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. That room was completely unexpected and very daunting to enter. Two giant cribs with both characters stood motionless on them as we were instructed to sit on the teeny tiny benches. And then the fun began. My jaw was on the floor that entire scene!

Whilst in these smaller groups, we had the same ‘joker’ leading us around and this was a great opportunity to get involved. The improvisation from the actors was wonderful and the attention to details made the whole experience. People in the group would say something at the beginning and sure enough later on in the experience the actor themselves would make reference to it. In one of the earlier rooms my name was revealed and boy, did they play on that! Just a lovely personal touch that made you feel part of the show, very memorable.

The groups were slowly brought back together later in the show for certain scenes of a more complex nature. The first being the mock turtle which was based in a really elaborate, beautiful set. This section in particular was initially very slow but picked up towards the end of the song when the rain effect started. Again, very unexpected! Just like the rest of the show, everything was so unexpected. There was no way I was able to predict anything that would happen next. Another great element I loved was that it did not matter where you were positioned in the group, you were still very much part of the action and did not miss anything. Between rooms there was a great deal of movement so this positioning was altered all the time. Sometimes I was towards the front; other times in the middle of the group and never felt excluded at the back.

At the end of the show the whole group came back as a whole for the finale. What a finale it was! Details from everyone’s show were revealed as we didn’t all have the same experience! A beautiful piece of puppetry work was witnessed (but to be honest all the puppetry throughout was stunning!). It was a great location for everyone to come together and for the final bows to be taken. That was one thing I was concerned about, that the cast would not get the recognition they deserved after the show but this was no issue and they most certainly received it. And then our journey into reality began. This was such an epic experience!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been done so many times however this version’s style had a whole new spin on the story and I felt like I was experiencing it all for the very first time. So refreshing! The adventure isn’t around for much longer so beg, borrow and steal to get a ticket!

It only has a limited time left and is booking until September 23rd. Do not miss this one!

I cannot wait to see the next immersive experience at The Vaults, Hair the musical, opening this October for its 50th anniversary. I am very intrigued to see how a musical will work in this type of theatre.

Be sure to check out The Vaults as they have so many incredible events on: