Colab Factory, London – until 25 August 2019
Atmospheric and filled with fantastic details, Flabbergast Theatre’s production is successfully entertaining.
Prepare to go back in time the very second you step into the Colab Factory for Flabbergast’s latest experience that sees audiences encounter a variety of mysterious characters in the setting of The Swell Mob saloon in which anything can happen.
Taking place over two levels, audience members are selected for special missions and search for clues in attempt to free some of the lost souls caught up in the seedy underworld of The Swell Mob. The whole experience is certainly sufficiently atmospheric and creepy to wonder through as you explore a variety of rooms and mingle with some questionable characters.
While a hint of a story emerges to some extent thanks to various quests and riddles to solve, the show doesn’t have a central plot to follow which can make the whole experience come across as lacking in direction. This is particularly disappointing when the experience comes to quite an abrupt end and not find out the outcome is a frustrating way to finish. This highlights a need for the show to be developed further.
However, despite this The Swell Mob is an enjoyable experience that thoroughly immerses the audience into the sinister world of gambling and corruption that Flabbergast Theatre has created so vividly. The attention to detail that has been paid to the set design, costumes and make up are all of a high standard, keeping the audience suitably engaged with the set pieces. Equally, all of the cast are thoroughly committed to their roles (to the point where they were overly convincing!) – unnerving at times but also intriguing to talk to.
What really sells this experience is the way in which The Swell Mob has a wonderfully eery atmosphere about it that keeps everyone on their toes – never fully knowing what to expect next. It allows you to experience things in your own time and own way, while maintaining an element of bringing people together for specific moments to keep a common thread running through the show.
Engaging and entertaining, The Swell Mob is a well put together experience that certainly has plenty of potential to be developed even further to add more depth, intrigue and excitement.