Out of my postcode, I go out of this world with The Grand Expedition by the Gingerliners.
The text message came through at 4pm, as promised, with instructions to go by 7pm to a certain station on the Victoria line with directions to a nearby venue.
Three hours later we are somewhat apprehensively emerging out of an unfamiliar station into an unfamiliar postcode. Here be dragons?
The directions are simple enough. With other travellers, clearly on the same adventure as us, we form up as a squad and chat and compare Google maps to make sure we are on the right track.
Shortly after we are outside the venue, which is not very impressive but rather thrilling. Dark and dingy it seems more a place for a dodgy deal, or to meet a Russian secret agent for a Novichok cocktail.
Our only confirmation that we are actually in the right place is the large number of people in their best going-out gear beginning to gather outside in the gloom. We wait expectantly.
This is The Grand Expedition by the Gingerliners, Part dance spectacle, part multimedia simulation, part supper club, it’s billed as a “floating, feeding, falling dream”, featuringfive interactive courses paired with eccentric performance and storytelling.‘
We’ve driven all the way down from Norwich for this!’ one couple enthuses to me. Others say they have come from Windsor and even from as far as Wales, aiming to make this the highlight of their weekend break in town. An eclectic bunch of explorers of all ages, we are all a bit giddy with excitement.
The door opens and in small groups we are ushered inside.
Now, what can I say to get across to you what a wonderful evening follows without giving away too much of the surprises?
Well, firstly the interior is nothing like the outside, you’re immediately transported to a wild circular stage set surrounded by a 360-degree multimedia screen with a troupe of dancer/actors in character clowning about and directing you to your table.
Every guest’s face reflects my own and my partner’s; she’s grinning from ear to ear as is everyone else.
We are already immersed in the spirit of The Grand Expedition as we slide into our slot on our circular table, clutching our complimentary Asahi Beers and waiting for the rest of room to all be seated.
The circular set and 360 screen means everyone has a good view of what follows and what follows is spectacular. You’re asked to not share any pictures or details on social, so as not to spoil the fun of future participants, which is fair enough. Taking photos for yourself is fine, though and all the photos shown here are official Gingerline images.
It’s soon evident that the degree of creativity and hard work that has gone into the ‘show’ is worthy of any West End performance.
Production values are very high in every area, and the performers have clearly put in days, if not weeks, of hard rehearsals There is never a hint of any amateurism, this is a professional performance to its fingertips.
The food is perfectly timed to come at the right moments in the event. It’s themed to the various acts, and allows the performers and cast enough time to do their costume changes, and is remarkably good.
It’s not easy to feed a lot of people simultaneously, and even harder to feed them food that is varied and often avant garde and perhaps most importantly, still hot.
I can’t reveal any details of the multi-course menu, but rest assured none of the food would disgrace a hip restaurant. It’s all oohs and aahs at our table, anyway.
You always get time to enjoy the food before being immersed back into the adventure either as an observer or willing participant. I lost my partner several times as she joined in the fun as invited.
Cocktails, beers and wine are all available from the themed hidden bar (no cash accepted), and if you don’t want to miss a thing, there’s also a waiter drink service.
We emerged into the night, around three and a half hours later, all babbling happily and in plenty of time for the tube home to our more familiar Zone.
We’d been on more than a bit of an adventure and loved every minute.
Images by Rob Greig/Gingerline
Tickets go back on sale March 4th, be quick to grab some!Web
£60 — £75
(Doors open at 7pm arriving by 7.15pm at the latest)
£55 — £75
(Doors open at midday, please arrive by 12.15pm at the latest)