Review: Jekyll / Hyde (The Vaults)

A new interactive game comes to London

Players playing the game
Players playing the game
© Sofia Romualdo

What did you do last night? I went bankrupt from feeding the poor and was committed to a sanatorium. Apparently.

That's just one of the outcomes of Fire Hazard's scavenger hunt-style show at London's VAULT Festival. Called Jekyll/Hyde, the show takes place both on your phone and on the streets of Waterloo, as you solve clues to unlock memories of your previous destructive night, loosely based on the classic novel. There's also some interaction from three cast members (Daniel Chrisostomou, Tim Kennington and Chloe Mashiter) wearing period dress along the way.

We get off to a difficult start (our map reading skills aren't the best), and we somehow end up halfway across Waterloo bridge before realising we should have stayed south of the river. Alas, we finally get the hang of the game – answering questions based on things around us, from dates on stones to animals on signs – and begin to quickly solve the many clues the game on our phone throws at us.

There's something fascinating about roaming around streets you know quite well, paying much more attention than you usually would. I've never really looked at the stained glass window at Waterloo station, but now I could tell you what images feature on it. This is what the game does best – it gives you 90 minutes to take control and explore your surroundings. In some respect, that's the most entertaining part of the experience. If you wanted, you could read every single diary entry you unlock, or take your time choosing what you did last night from the options you are presented (did you drink an unknown liquid heartily or cautiously?), but the main focus is certainly on solving the clues and moving on to the next area. You almost forget the show is based on the tale of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The cast members roam certain areas of the journey, talking to you and making offers. Of course, as you take charge of your own experience, it's up to you if you entertain them. This is invariably a good thing, as you are not forced into any awkward interactions. However, when the group comes together at the mid- and end of the show, it feels somewhat cringe-y to be standing and listening to the cast talking in Victorian English about experiments and the future of science. The scavenger hunt is certainly the star of the show and what the audience have all come for, so though a moment to wrap-up is nice, it does seem to drag (particularly when stood outside in the February cold).

Overall, it has to be said that this is an incredibly well-executed experience, and is highly entertaining for all the expected reasons. If you're looking for something that's a little bit different and a chance to test your detective skills, then this is the show for you.