The Vaults, London – until 17 February 2019
An immersive, underground boxing match as the audience’s actions and reactions determines the winner.
Exit Productions has described its work as being more like a game and this boxing match divides its audience by its loyalty to either side of the Thames. Those on the North side with the older Ian ‘Bam Bam’ Bradshaw (Edward Linard) and those on the south are Team Joe Williams (Peter Grimwood), a young Welshman recovering from the death of his brother and trainer.
I was on the south side due to my allegiance to Croydon and I was enamoured by Grimwood’s Joe, a loyal man determined to win at all costs and his supportive girlfriend Katie (Hannah Samuels) that I didn’t get to find out much about Linard’s Bradshaw. and his trainer Charlie Jenkins (Jessica Jefferies).
Both men looked the part and I found myself looking forward to their confrontations at weigh-ins as rumours about medical conditions and corruptions flew around before. One of the audience member’s failed spying antics caused me and my partner to laugh during a very serious scene about a fixed loss and a telling off by Grimwood, who did well to stay in character.
As an immersive experience, I particularly enjoyed the option to bet on each fighter, using your knowledge to either stay by your man or take a bet on the other guy. The fighters are supported by Dr John Hargreaves (Ben Lydon) as the playful Doctor/referee and the Eddie Hearne-esque Jack Winters (Simon Pothecary) who seemed to be encouraging us to put a bet on Bam Bam instead of our own man.
This probably was one of the more relaxed immersive experiences, as it has a relatively short running time and you can wander freely or just play a game of Blackjack Michael Dunning (Brendan O’Rourke) to pass the time. The lack of ending beyond the fight is a bit disappointing but it is nice to attend a venue that values the emerging storyline over getting audiences as drunk as possible.
Along with Seance, this is on my ‘would like to attend again’ to see an alternative ending or follow Bam Bam instead of Williams, maybe try and win the £5 cash prize, as this is a production with a lot to offer.
Fight Night is on until 17 February https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/fight-night/