Based on the popular series of children’s books, Goosebumps Alive is a 90 min show compromised of a number of individual scenes, all based on/inspired by Goosebumps tales. The audience walks through these scenes, sometimes interacting with the cast and set.
Upon entering the venue, we were given a card with the picture of a crow on it and a rather ominous warning on the other side. It wasn’t quite clear to us what this did/meant at the time other than it was a way of grouping the audience. We then moved into the bar which was nicely themed with a raft of masks on two walls. These were made by the same company who provided the masks for the actual show.
The bar served two themed cocktails, one of which was unavailable at the time so we went with ‘Monster’s Blood’ which certainly looked the part! After a short while here, our timeslot was called up and we were moved into another room which transpired to be another bar. This one served different cocktails including one offered up in syringes! Naturally, we went for these.
A few minutes later, the general ambience of the bar was interrupted by an actor, the Goosebumps TV show theme played on several screens dotted around the bar and we were soon split up into our four groups and led into the show.
What followed were essentially condensed and remixed versions of Goosebumps stories, short ten minute morality plays. We’d recently binge watched the show on Netflix in an attempt to have a little bit more familiarity of the stories before heading into the event and to see how they’d adapted them. The show started with ‘The Cuckoo Clock of Doom’ but instead of being about a young boy accidentally rewinding time after looking to get his sister in trouble, it’s now about a man in his 30s turning back time for financial gain. So they’ve all been given a little spin but are definitely, undeniably in the spirit of the source material. The performances were very much in line with those of the TV show and the set design echoed this in the kitschy colours that gave everything a heightened, ethereal feel.
The aesthetic of the show was spot on. The set design and performances were faithful to the 90s TV series and you could tell that a lot of passion had gone into creating this show. There were a couple of cool effects, especially in the final scene that just kept escalating. We especially enjoyed the tent and elevator acts, these were cool scare sequences that were probably the most simplistic scenes and the most effective for that reason. The penultimate episode was also impressive for taking place over two levels.
For what was billed as an immersive event, we felt that this angle could have been pushed a bit more. Besides from being grabbed twice (and less in a scare fashion than to simply guide us to the next set), the only interactive element came from the Horror Land set and it was quite light touch.
Something else that should have been handled better was keeping the four different audience groups separate. In a number of scenes, we could hear the other groups and at one point, we walked past a cornfield set that looked interesting but our group never visited it. Whether this was a deliberate tactic to entice us to come back is unknown but it did lend a feeling of the show not being a complete experience. We later discovered from the show’s director that there are two different shows essentially – Rat and Crow follow one route whereas Snake and Spider follow a different one.
Goosebumps was an enjoyable night and very true to the source material. Our reservations in recommending this come from the fact that it’s quite expensive, especially considering that you won’t get to see the full show in a single run. We’d also like to see the level of immersion improved upon.
That said, maybe these aspects are addressed in the other track, we plan on returning to find out.
And one final word, based on the track that we went through, don’t expect much of a scare event. There’s a few light scares peppered throughout the show and they do the job but it isn’t what we’d call a scare event. It played up the comedy a lot more and we never felt that there was any real threat. If you bear that in mind when going in, we’re sure that you’ll have a good time with it.
Rating: *** (out of 5) – Flawed but worth checking out
Ticket Price: £49
Address: The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN, London