Review: Sounds and Sorcery, The Vaults

The Vaults Sorcery performance

The Vaults Sorcery performance - Credit: Archant

Take fantastic trip on a musical adventure in the tunnels beneath Waterloo station

The Vaults Sorcery performance

The Vaults Sorcery performance - Credit: Archant

Silent Opera’s loving immersive tribute to Disney’s avant-garde animation Fantasia takes place in a warren of tunnels beneath Waterloo station, where you take a journey down a rather trippy rabbit hole, wearing headphones that switch score as you enter each room.

Back in 1940, the House of Mouse dreamed up eight animations set to famous classical scores – the best known being Mickey’s watery misadventures as The Sorceror’s Apprentice.

It was the first commercial movie to use stereophonic sound. Today your personal iPod offers cutting edge binaural sound as you lie on your back and listen to Bach – watching psychedelic overhead visuals of swirling musical instruments playing the Toccata and Fuge.

Afterwards we explored a series of elaborately dressed sets: a Sugar Plum Fairy room full of giant colourful flowers and enchanted rivers; a mirrored waterfall to Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony: a human fishtank, and a frosty tree fringed wintery lake. My six-year-old loved climbing over a rope bridge beside a pre-historic volcano, and watching a room of toadstools light up in sequence.

We stopped in a Grecian palace bar to imbibe a colour changing gin cocktail and watch the comic ballet between an awkward ostrich, a hippo, an elephant and an aerialist croc cavort on a runway to the Dance of the Hours as the coloured clouds above us bobbed up and down. Step into the robed sorcerer’s cell to see three brooms take turns to jinx each other while scrubbing the floor in a whirling wet dance. The only bum note was Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. Billed as a scary finale, it’s a tedious film of three writhing wood nymphs. But then the curtain lifted and we walked through lantern-lit trees to the strains of Ave Maria it was beautiful and euphoric.

It’s worth lingering in the second bar to enjoy the quirky hallucinatory installations and an interactive touchscreen where you create your own soundtrack by choosing from video clips. That kept us amused for long enough to drink a smouldering enchanted cocktail. Imaginative, very cool and highly recommended for all ages.

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Sounds and Sorcery runs at The Vaults underneath until September 30.