2 August 2018

Sounds and Sorcery at The Vaults

The Vaults, one of London's best loved experimental arts spaces is back again with another ambitious undertaking promising to take audiences right into the Disney classic Fantasia.  Sounds and Sorcery is an immersive sound and visual performance that takes the audience beyond the screen and right into the music.  Expect no obvious Disney imagery or Mickey references here and imagine more of an art installation based around the classical pieces.  

After collecting your binaural headphones and entering the first room you are invited to sit back and relax while you watch the music dance across the ceiling.  This sets the tone for the show and from this point the audience is invited to wander from room to room with the music changing as they enter each new environment.  This first room serves a good introduction to the concept, and the staging and setting only get more imaginative from there!
There are 10 total rooms/ performances in total to explore.  Some rooms such as The Sorcerer's Apprentice and the ballet scenes involve live actors and are mini self contained performance pieces in themselves, while the others are often large sets to explore as the lights or videos move to the music and appear to be more akin to art installations.  The volcano scene is a large scale set while other scenes such as the mushroom scene are more like walk mini walk through attractions.
While the plans for this show were ambitious in several parts it unfortunately failed to hit the mark.  The headphones were a great solution to stop sound contamination between scenes but unfortunately the technology was not up to scratch and often music from different scenes would play in the wrong room or it would cut out completely.  The set pieces were impressive but weren't quite as spectacular as they could have been which left the audience feeling slightly disappointed.  The shows also have unclear start and end times in places which left the overall performance feeling bitty and not cohesive.  
A show like this needs to be truly epic and imaginative to sell itself and sadly this is missing the spark.  Fantasia was famously a flop for Walt Disney so possibly choosing this for a performance meant it was doomed to be a lacklustre.  The nature of the scenes left some pieces feeling like place holders rather then reaching their full potential and allow other rooms such as The Sorcerer's Apprentice to steal the show.  Given more development and newer technology this could really reach another level.  

Adult tickets run between £33-£43 and are available directly from the Sounds and Sorcery website.
Tickets were given to me in return for a review, all words and opinions are my own
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