It’s 9:30pm on a Tuesday night and in some disused railway arches under Waterloo, a hundred odd Londoners are singing along rowdily to Whitney’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ while an actor in drag runs up and down the length of the room.
Another night, another immersive dining experience. This is the culmination of ‘Beauty and the Feast’: a pantomine – with food – very loosely based on the fairytale. It's set in a grand old French chateau on the night of a grand feast. Our compere is Fairy Liquid, who's on a mission to matchmake beautiful Belle and clumsy old Beast. And of course, she needs some help from the audience.
I’ll be blunt, this isn’t one of the best party cum performances there. But let’s start with the good stuff: the set design is magical. In the dining area chandeliers of every shape and size hang above three long tables while swathes of velvet are draped from the ceiling. The feast itself is as pretty as a 100-plus liked picture: whole roasted pumpkins are brought to the table, followed by blue cheese cake piled high with fresh figs and for dessert ginger and chilli jelly in china tea cups. It was as close as I’ve seen to a real life fairytale spread.
But from a performance perspective the show’s a bit weak. The writing is so-so, the bawdy pantomime jokes getting sniggers rather than belly laughs. While the interactive elements are far from sophisticated. But that didn’t stop the audience having a raucous time on the night I went. As one audience member commented on our site: ‘We danced on the tables until we were told to leave’. And as far as a top night out is concerned: who can argue with that?