A unique multi-sensory experience has arrived in London’s secret venue The Vaults. Based in Waterloo, this old underground station is now showcasing a fantastic new production, based on the 1940’s Disney classic Fantasia. Sounds and Sorcery really allows you to use your imagination – this is not for the fainthearted.
Sounds and Sorcery Celebrating Disney Fantasia
Any fan of Fantasia will understand the references used in the installations. You get given headphones on arrival to wear as you walk around as each room plays a piece of music associated to the film. The music is recorded in binaural sound. You instantly feel like you’re in a concert hall listening to live music. I had to take the headphones off a few times to see if the music was actually playing in the room itself instead. The room was in fact silent. I was very impressed with the sound quality but at some points, I must admit my headphones were crackly.
There are times on the wall in the main room letting you know when the next performance starts (there are a few showings of each so you won’t miss out). You can go to any room at your own pace and it takes around 90 minutes to fully explore. This production features two live performances by incredible dancers making this experience very theatrical too, it is very abstract. If you love the creative arts this is a great all-rounder. Although the tunnels are very dark and hot inside, it was a lot of fun exploring these repurposed tube stations.
You are guided into the first room where you are asked to lay down on sofas to look up at the ceiling. Here is where you’ll listen to Beethoven 6 and watch a projection show above you in time to the music. At points you are completely in the dark. It was very relaxing!
Rite of Spring
Rite of Spring by Stravinsky was fantastic. I could of stayed here for hours watching the Volcano with its lava floor. There is a section at the top of the room where you can do a little Rock Climbing. It was lots of fun. Be sure to wear sensible shoes!
The Nutcracker Suite
The Nutcracker Suite was breathtaking. The flowers were incredible and you really felt like you were walking through a Fairy Realm. Dance of The Sugarplum Fairies is such a famous piece of music. Broken down into separate rooms leading on from this one, you are at one point, surrounded by bubbles and mushrooms dancing along to the songs. As well as the song Dance of The Sugarplum Fairies, another piece of music included was the Waltz of the Flowers which, is truly enchanting.
The Dance of the Hours
This piece was a live ballet performance and very whimsical. Unsure at first but, it then clicked as to which scene this represented in Fantasia. Interpreting the Ostrich and the Crocodile, this was a very comedic act. The actors come into the audience making you feel apart of it. Here you can grab a refreshment to bring in with you too.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The scene I was most excited for and, probably the most famous from the 1940’s animation was, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This representation was very clever. I was a bit apprehensive as there was a big warning sign saying there was a chance you might get wet. We didn’t quite know what we were in for. All we knew was the expression on the previous audience’s faces. They looked very impressed (and a little damp!).
I wasn’t sure how the show producers would pull this one off but, they did. The actors and water effects were incredible. The concept here was you were Mickey Mouse being drowned by the enchanted brooms. Yes you got wet, but it was all part of the experience and it was brilliant!
Bald Mountain – Ave Maria
The final room was very emotional for me. Many people, including myself took our headphones off as we walked through this final scene Bald Mountain. We walked through a dark forest at the end with Ave Maria playing. As I realised this was a symbol of heaven and hell/good over evil, I started to tear up. It was very moving and a lovely way to end this experience.
The experience overall was great and I’m so grateful I got to experience it. I think there could be some tweaks made and, I did expect more scenes of Mickey Mouse with the original animation to be shown in parts. However, this experience is completely its own thing. The production is wonderful and very creative. I would say £30 is a bit expensive for it although, if you get the chance this summer, I’d highly recommend it.
- Beethoven 6
- Night on Bald Mountain
- The Arabian Dance
- The Chinese Dance
- The Dance of the Hours
- The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies
- The Rite of Spring
- The Dance of the Mirlitons
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
- The Trepak
- The Waltz of the Flowers
- Toccata and Fuigue
Buy the music which is al recorded in Binaural Sound here.
The entrance to the venue is in the graffiti tunnel that forms part of Leake Street, accessible from either Lower Marsh or York Road. Nearest Tube Station is Waterloo.
Make sure you follow these accounts on social media to hear more about this fantastic event:
Book tickets here. Running until the 30th September.