Any where with the signage ‘adults only’ and ‘gin cocktails on arrival’ assuredly guarantees you a good night. In the case of the London Dungeon Lates however I wouldn’t be too sure.
Firstly the tickets are £25 each. A rather hefty sum for a bit of cheap entertainment, a miniscule pork pie and two ‘gin’ laced with cordial cocktails. For £25 one would at least expect a heavy splash of gin, and sadly for London Dungeon Lates their not so convincing petrifying performance would have been all the more better for it. But the gin is non existent and their Victorian Gin Palace Bar should be renamed Maud’s Cordial Paradise for I feel this is all they serve.
London Dungeon Lates has all the right ingredients to be an enjoyable after hours affair. However, apart from the interesting historical context it is really lacking in quality scares, entertainment, alcohol and convincing theatrical Elizabethan performances. To be frank, it is an absolute rip off and a tourist trap.
Although I love an authentic Museum and would happily spend my Sunday afternoon wandering around the National Art Gallery, I have never been attracted to gimmicky play offs of history. Goodness knows how I ended up at London Dungeon Lates on a Friday night, I had been given two free tickets and thought that as a freebie it was well worth the try.
The website states that your £25 ticket gives you full access to their dressing up box, a wonderful opportunity for ladies to dress up as a Victorian strumpet, and for the gents to don their most regal Guido Fawkes attire . Yet upon arrival I was given some flimsy toupee looking top hat which made me look like I was wearing a small rodent on my head, never fit me properly and apart from making me look ghastly was also a bloody nuisance. My boyfriend didn’t fare much better, he was given some enormous top hat which knocked off every time he had to enter another room.
There were 6 in total, all complete with one or two actors trying to do their best impersonation of a twisted torturer, rogue medic or blood thirsty villain. Some were great quality, I found the final room in the courthouse to be highly amusing. The judge’s quick wit and amusing one liners left the audience in stitches. There was no censorship here, ‘fuck’, ‘cock’, ‘bitch’, ‘vagina’, it was all used and much to the audiences’s delight. The scriptwriters probably felt that after two of their cordial gin cocktails their audience would be ready to hear such profanities. To be honest it could have be done earlier on to lighten the tone, but I suppose better late than never.
Other actors however left a lot to be desired. My boyfriend and I were the unfortunate two at the front of the group as we were entering the Jack the Ripper Room. Instead of entering into the Ripper’s torturous lair we were confronted by two very poorly dressed Victorian hussies sitting on a bench having a good old chin wag. It wasn’t until about half the group were inside that they decided to remove themselves from their evidently fascinating conversation and address us poor commoners who had paid (well some had paid) good money to see their best performance of the Ripper’s victim Mary Jane Kelly. Surely London has better actresses than these two!!
For £25 the London Dungeon dishes out a ‘fortifying dose of after-hours scary fun’ . The historical side was interesting, each room focusses on a different English villain and ghastly time in British history. At first you have Guido Fawkes and his gun plot. In the second it is the Bubonic Plague, from there Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper, a witch-trial and of course Mrs. Lovett and her pies. But not even the historical drama could save the London Dungeon Lates. The actors, bar a few, are wooden. Their timing and attempt at humour is cringe worthy and some, like our two Ripper victims, evidently had better things to do on a Friday night than perform to their plebeian paying audience. The scares really were second best, and I found the whole experience really lacking in any authenticity or originality.
So on that note I am not going to link the website to book your online expensive tickets, as I feel that your hard paying money should be put to better cause. The Natural History Museum is hosting Wildlife Photography of the Year, and the V&A’s Fabric Of India exhibition has opened with much acclaim.
Besides, I would never give top marks to any exhibition which begins with showcasing live rats in cages, I evidently like my rodents as hairpieces not in a small glass enclosure.