THE GREATEST LOVE STORY NEVER TOLD
Down in the underworld The Dark One dines in style and he is inviting brave travellers to the gates of Pedley Street Station to sign away your souls and descend into the depths of the Underworld
A review by Tanya Howard
As a massive Halloween lover you can imagine how excited I got when an email popped up in our Inbox from about a Journey to The Underworld, an immersive theatre and dining experience where guests are treated to a devilishly tasty four course meal created by MasterChef The Professionals 2017 finalist Louisa Ellis. Set on a luxury train carriage in Pedley Street Station I was more than happy to sell my soul to The Dark One for this great evening that is open until 7th November.
Upon arriving at Pedley Street Station I was ushered through to the entrance where I was greeted by the Grim Reaper with a glass of champagne and my one way ticket to purgatory and directed through to the waiting area. With a bar serving cocktails inspired by the seven deadly sins and an old abandoned train carriage there was an eerie feel to the room was gave a great mood to the crowd but I also was really excited to see what was planned for us all.
Suddenly you are joined by Claude, the shackled conductor, and his lowly assistant Gordy, who tell you about the fearsome Dark One and announce that the train is ready to depart so we must all board. On the train there were eight tables with six places on each so this event is great for large groups and smaller ones who are happy to mingle and make some new friends. The menus are on the table so that you can see what’s on other and Louisa’s menu was clearly designed as a feast fit for all dietary requirements and that ties in with the theatrical narrative.
Soon after taking your seat you realise this is not just any standard journey to the underworld but actually a quest of Claude’s to save the woman he loves from The Dark One’s hold after her father sold her soul to him for all the riches in the world. After finding a key that unchained Claude from the shackles he has been held in for thousands of years you realise this is not only a dinner and theatre experience but an interactive night where you all get to join in and get involved with the story.
The windows of the carriage have been set up with screen projectors to make it look like you were travelling through the underworld on the train tracks, as well as to show videos in relation to the story of Claude and Sabine and how she ended up in the underworld. Along with this there is some sort of vibration noise in the background which gives you the illusion that you are actually on a moving train, the mix of sound, movement and lights is portrayed really well as I did at times have to remind myself that I wasn’t on a moving train.
On the way to save Sabine we have to take on the seductive Gatekeeper, the hunched Harbinger, and the damnable Dark One and in between the theatrics and interactive pieces we were served a beautiful meal. We started with the Amuse Bouche, a butternut squash volute, toasted pumpkin seeds and chive oil, and the starter was black garlic gnocchi, sauteed wild mushrooms, truffle and nasturtium. For someone who tends to turn away from vegetable based and is quite fussy with eating I really enjoyed the dishes and the black garlic gnocchi was especially delicious.
Sufficient breaks were taken for the food and it was seamlessly put into the show without it feeling like a case of stopping and starting, it just made sense. The main course was Pan Seared Guinea Fowl Breast, Celeriac Textures, Anne Potato, Braised Leek and Arran Mustard Sauce. On my table, which had five people as my plus one was sadly unable to make it, we had two vegetarians, two meat eaters and one vegan. Every person on the table was well catered for and were all very happy with our meals and had pretty much cleared our whole plates on every meal.
The final meal of the evening was dessert, a Chocolate Ganache, Honey Ice Cream, Bee Pollen Tuile and a Honey Crisp. One thing I would advise is getting a few drinks from the bar before boarding the train as it can be a bit of a struggle trying to get the waiters to get you drinks in between serving and the performances. I didn’t personally try any of the seven deadly sin cocktails as I stuck to Prosecco for the night but they sounded great with a mix of spirit options so there should be something on there for everyone.
Tickets for the event start at £53 and can be purchased on the Funicular website or via Design My Night, and the show runs across Wednesday to Sunday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm and has matinee performances on the weekends at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. I would advise you not to take this show too seriously, I don’t believe it’s meant to come across as an intense or particularly scary show but more a fun, interactive and enjoyable evening. The acting was incredible and my favourite had to be Gordy, the camp and frivolous assistant to Claude, but all of the actors and performers gave it their all and really took on their characters and gave a great performance. I really enjoyed the evening and would recommend it to anyone looking for a different and unique night out.