Following Phobophobia, Leporiphobia was the latest of London Tombs’ holiday-themed events with this one taking place over the Easter weekend. As with Phobophobia, the second half of the show was unchanged with the exception of the actors wearing bunny costumes in place of their usual attire. So we’ll focus on the first half which brought the Leporiphobia content.
Beyond a suitably sinister promo image on their website, we had zero expectations going into this and what we got definitely surprised us! We’ll say that the first few seconds of this show had us questioning what was real when an actor delivered some dialogue away from the audience in a fashion that suggested that we weren’t supposed to hear her. It was a good, disarming start to something that sadly devolved into what we can only describe as a Dungeons-esque experience. The plot of the show was that a film was shooting in the London Tombs but the cast had mysteriously disappeared and we were now being drafted in as the B-team. It sounds like a somewhat interesting concept but they lost us fairly quickly here, plumping for a heightened old-timey Hollywood feel. If this had been played straight with a contemporary setting, we believe that it would have been way more effective. The disconnect made us very aware that we were watching a show.
As we were now the stars of the film, they re-cast the main roles, picking three audience members to be the Hero, Scream Queen and Villain. As far as we could tell, this ‘casting’ had absolutely no bearing on anything that happened other than producing another photo opportunity at the end. With the casting out of the way, we were shooting our first scene when the rabbit appeared. We’re okay with the fact that the bunny looked nothing like the one in the promotional image. In its own way, it could’ve been somewhat creepy but the staging of its scene put it behind the group fairly quickly, meaning that we only caught the briefest of glimpses. Not much else happened in this part; we encountered another character who just stood in the corner and then were held in another room whilst the three ‘leads’ were taken for hair and makeup. This lasted for about a minute until we all headed downstairs for pictures in front of the green screen before the second part of the experience commenced.
The staff seemed to be having a lot of fun here, their enthusiasm was undeniable and very noticeable. Everyone came across as very committed to delivering a good experience and had more spark than we’re used to seeing at similar events.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record – batching. We commented on this in our Phobophobia review here: http://scareaddicts.com/london-tombs-phobophobia-review. There we noted that we traversed the Phobophobia element as just our group but were joined up with others for the second half. Here, we did the entire show as a group of fifteen. It’s a ridiculous size and completely ruined a lot of good scares.
We have to point out one thing that happened in the second half here. The final moments feature a chainsaw-wielding character who is supposed to have you pegging it towards the exit. Instead, our massive group (that we were right at the back of) took their time exiting. This had us standing next to the actor for a very long time and, with the surprise element gone, no-one in the group was scared anymore. So the character was listlessly waving the chainsaw around to a group who weren’t really that bothered. It felt really comical. We came out feeling extremely disappointed with the event but agreed that if we’d been in there with a group of around five, we would’ve had a lot of fun.
We had the sense that the show, even in the second half, wasn’t trying to be scary. With the heavier audience participation elements, it seemed as though the show was aiming for that London Dungeons tourist accessibility. And a way of ensuring that the horror trappings of the second half are less intense for the casual tourist is to make the groups so big that the impact of any scare is lessened. We’ve never felt this ‘safe’ before at the Tombs (we’ve attended other Phobophobia events that pre-date this site)! There just wasn’t much of a horror/scare vibe to it and we’re now questioning whether it’s worth attending at Halloween considering all the other events that take place that month. We can’t blame them for aiming it at a wider market but a show like Leporiphobia had very little meat for us. We don’t cover the Dungeons attractions because of how light they are on elements that we’re interested in and this particular show felt cut from the same cloth. And don’t get us wrong, we really enjoyed Phobophobia, read our four-star review of it! We also should add that we’ve never been through the experience in normal operations and believe it has a bit more of that theatrical vibe to it. However, the limited-run shows that we’ve attended went for the scares and the promotional material led us to believe that so would Leporiphobia. It, sadly, didn’t.
Leporiphobia (2017) London Tombs
The show's finished now but we really couldn't recommend this if you were expecting anything in line with the vibe of the promotional image. For the asking price, there wasn't much to get excited about and large batches contributed to the experience being a watered-down shadow of previous events.
Ticket Price: £28
Address: The London Bridge Experience, 2 – 4 Tooley Street, London Bridge, London SE1 2SY