Tag Archives: Underbelly Festival Southbank

80 Days: A Real-World Adventure
★★★★

Underbelly Festival – Secret Location

80 Days: A Real-World Adventure

80 Days: A Real-World Adventure

Underbelly Festival Southbank

Reviewed – 25th July 2019

★★★★

 

“bring a curious mind and a competitive spirit and you’re guaranteed to have a jolly good time”

 

80 Days: A Real World Adventure by Fire Hazard Games is a live, interactive role play (that includes using your phone as part of the game) where participants have eighty minutes to dash around London and make necessary purchases for their expedition. In order to do this there are riddles to solve and clues to collect. The more money you accumulate, from solving each challenge, the more purchases you can make for your expedition which heightens your chance of winning.

Greeted by Marta Kane (stage manager) at the Underbelly Festival on the Southbank, we were provided a pre-adventure debrief whilst our team names were confirmed. Although many people play as a group, teams can be singular or up to five members.

We were then introduced to the rather spiffily dressed Pendleton “The Baron” (Nicholas Anscombe) who explained, with great enthusiasm, the task ahead and started all the competitors on their way. On our journey we met a few other exciting characters such as the feisty, no nonsense American explorer, Nightingale “The Navigator” (Kelly Long) and the ever kind and rational Hawkins “The Botanist” (Matt Vickery).

Fire Hazard Games make “…high-energy real-life games…to make competitive, character-led experiences with players at the centre.” 80 Days: A Real World Adventure is no exception. It cleverly encourages the exploration of London by immersing the players into a theatrical treasure hunt. It’s an ingenious way to incentivise even the most jaded Londoner to open their eyes with renewed wonder, as they discover previously unnoticed gems that only a city like London keeps.

Of course the actors were a fundamental element of the whole production. Friendly, witty and completely dedicated to their roles, Long, Hawkins and Anscombe were a pleasure to watch and interact with. They also displayed great empathy and patience to those who, perhaps, required a little more time to figure out the logistics of the game. The attention to detail did not go unnoticed, from the character’s costumes to the layout of our maps. Much kudos to Elizabeth Simoens (Lead Game Designer and Production Manager) and the whole creative team whose efforts and directing choices have positively paid off.

80 Days: A Real World Adventure is something fun and different to do around London. It would serve as a brilliant birthday gift and is an innovative way to go sightseeing. When you embark on this wild caper, be sure to bring comfortable shoes and sustenance to keep you going on your voyage. Most importantly, bring a curious mind and a competitive spirit and you’re guaranteed to have a jolly good time.

 

Reviewed by Pippin

Photography by Sofia Romualdo

 


80 Days: A Real-World Adventure

Underbelly Festival Southbank until 29th September

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Soap | ★★★★★ | May 2018
Circa: Peepshow | ★★★½ | July 2018
Little Mermaid Circus Sensation | ★★★½ | July 2018
Aliens Love Underpants | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Black Cat: Bohemia | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Little Death Club | ★★★★ | April 2019
On Reflection | ★★★★★ | May 2019
Transit | ★★★★ | May 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Transit
★★★★

Underbelly Festival Southbank

Transit

Transit

Underbelly Festival Southbank

Reviewed – 31st May 2019

★★★★

 

“it’s impossible not to gasp and coo at the acts of physical skill on display”

 

We’ve all been there, hearing the airport announcer warn of delays and, knowing you’ll be there for a while, settle in for some intensive diablo-ing to pass the time. No? Must be just FLIP Fabrique then.

Director of the Québécois circus troupe Alexandre Fecteau has chosen an apt name for this show. It follows a (very) loose plot around the travelling life, offering insights into the shared joys and lonely challenges of life on the road, and the stacked trunks on stage literally represent the group’s transit through airports. But transitions of other sorts are referenced, too; we see a revelation from one player that she and her group are about to experience a seismic change.

The performances, as would be expected from such an accomplished group, are remarkable, as are the range of skills on display (including, memorably, a record-breaking fifteen different skills within ninety seconds from Jasmin Blouin). The occasional stunt fails but the goodwill in the audience is high and these glitches just serve to highlight the technique on display. It helps that the camaraderie of this troupe of six is clear; they seem to having a great time together.

This is especially clear in the stand-out acts, with the diablo a highlight; Jérémie Arsenault has exceptional stage presence. As billed, it’s hard not to grip your seat at times during these performances, especially those which see Jade Dussault hurled into the gods, almost grazing the lighting rigs.

Transit also features amazing music choices – and the geniuses have saved audiences from furtive mid-performance Shazam-ing (guilty, your honour) by putting the full song list on their website. The strength of Bruno Matte’s lighting design also needs to be mentioned, including beautiful flashes of rainbow clubs (mesmerising in motion) and zippy neon skipping ropes.

Pierre Rivière’s bare-chested straps display celebrates the incredible physicality of circus, but the second appearance of straps is one of the less successful set pieces as Rivière dons a fat suit, munching doughnuts. I suspect this is a clowning rib at the strains of maintaining physical condition during months of training and touring, but it comes off awkwardly as simply mocking the idea of a larger figure in action and jars with the otherwise inclusive feel of the show.

There’s also the unavoidable fact that this group has just one woman, and at times there’s a risk of feeling as though she’s a prop to be balanced with or tossed around. This risk is seen off for the most part by her powerful solo hoops performance, where she commands the stage. This set piece is moving and beautiful, which is to be celebrated, but it exemplifies one of the issues here – the tension between emotional, adult material alongside family-friendly playful scenes.

For all these small flaws, it’s impossible not to gasp and coo at the acts of physical skill on display. I found myself hand on mouth then laughing aloud at times – and for an evening of circus, can you ask for more?

 

Reviewed by Abi Davies

Photography courtesy FLIP Fabrique

 

 


Transit

Underbelly Festival Southbank until 7th July

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Soap | ★★★★★ | May 2018
Circa: Peepshow | ★★★½ | July 2018
Little Mermaid Circus Sensation | ★★★½ | July 2018
Aliens Love Underpants | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Black Cat: Bohemia | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Little Death Club | ★★★★ | April 2019
On Reflection | ★★★★★ | May 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com