Immersive experience, SOMNAI, has taken London by storm, and – having been to try it out ourselves – it’s not hard to see why.
However, we know some of you might be feeling a little anxious about plonking down your hard-earned cash on an experience so strongly shrouded in mystery. So we’re here to tell you why this isn’t one to be missed…
1. The technology
This immersive entertainment sensation is unlike any you’ve ever experienced before. That’s because the addition of loads of advanced VR technology has taken this show to the next level. Expect virtual reality, projection mapping, augmented reality, and a geodesic dome. Go for the tech and stay for the cocktails, guys. Trust us.
2. The sets
We don’t want to give too much away here, but we were totally blown away by the variety and authenticity of each room we passed through. Each space set the scene perfectly and felt totally real – no stray spotlights or out of place pieces of floor marking tape in sight! We never caught a glimpse of the other groups moving simultaneously through the experience, either. No, the whole thing ran like clockwork, despite being a preliminary press night.
3. The incredibly committed actors
Despite our groups’ intermittent episodes of nervous giggling and wise-cracking, the actor leading us through the experience conducted herself like a true pro. Not once did she break character, an impressive feat for anyone confronted with a group of adults bumping into giant toadstools with VR headsets on.
In fact, we were so impressed with our guide’s steadfast commitment to their role that – after a little bit of digging around on the interweb – we discovered that her name was Polly Waldron, recent graduate of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, one of London’s finest drama schools. Bottom line is: just because it’s immersive entertainment and not a glitzy West End production doesn’t mean you won’t be watching a flawlessly convincing performance.
4. The scares
SOMNAI have been pretty open about the suitability of this show for under-18s. Long story short: it isn’t. It also isn’t going to be the ideal evening out for anyone suffering from claustrophobia, taphephobia (that’s fear of graves), thanatophobia (fear of death), or acrophobia (fear of heights). However, if you’re confident you don’t fit into any of the former categories, you’re in for a thrillingly dark evening of entertainment. We don’t quite understand why human beings enjoy the feeling of being scared out of their skins, but it is certainly undeniable.
5. The opportunity to meet new people
Ok, this was definitely an unexpected one for us, but after the experience was over every member of our 6-person motley crew gathered round a table in the bar for a debrief. We’d laughed and (almost) cried together, we’d shared our hopes and dreams, and our most terrifying nightmares. At one point it felt almost like a space-age group therapy session. The result was an experience that bonded us together and actually got us talking to complete strangers. And how often does that occur in London? Absolutely bloody never.
6. The digital bar
Instagram opportunities abound at this incredible technological bar. Expect projection mapping, the opportunity to hologram yourself, and augmented technology cocktails. And, in addition to all the technological wizardry, the cocktails are some of the best we’ve tasted – all priced at a very reasonable £9.50. We didn’t want to leave.
The experience last 70 minutes and to see everything in the digital bar allow a further hour. You can book tickets from £35 here and you’ll find SOMNAI at 2 Pear Tree Street (off Goswell Road), EC1V 3SB. Oh, and SOMNAI will only be running until June, so we suggest you get in there quickly to avoid missing out.
This post was sponsored by dotdotdot.