April 14, 2016 / 2:11 PM / 4 years ago

Fear and fright as horror tales come alive at 'Goosebumps' show

LONDON (Reuters) - With disorientating corridors, dark enclosed spaces and freaky horror scenes, the hugely popular “Goosebumps” book series comes to life in a new immersive theater show taking audiences through hair-raising stories.

Based on the 1990s children’s horror books by R.L Stine, “Goosebumps Alive” leads viewers from one scary tale to another as they make their way around the dark tunnels of The Vaults venue at London’s Waterloo.

From frightening monsters to killer scarecrows, the show — for adults — features plenty of nightmarish scenes, where public participation in encouraged at times.

“We wanted to do a show for adults for the main reason that there’s this wealth of material of ‘Goosebumps’ stories that we thought that an audience might be nostalgic for,” director Tom Salamon told Reuters.

“But we didn’t just want to recreate them for the stage, we wanted to take them in a sort of new and different re-imagined, remixed fashion. An immersive theater is really an adult’s kind of form and we thought it would fit really well in that world.”

Stine’s “Goosebumps” stories have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide in more than 30 languages, inspired a television series, games, merchandise and a movie, released last year, starring funnyman Jack Black.

The London show features scenes from some of the author’s famed tales such as “Stay Out Of The Basement” and “Say Cheese And Die!” with contemporary twists.

Audiences are divided into groups and guided from one spooky setting to another as actors re-enact the scenes, with plenty of surprises and jumps thrown in.

“(Immersive theater is) very different than traditional theater or even film ... You really feel like you’re involved in this thing — it’s very engaging,” Salamon said.

“In terms of people wanting to be scared ... People seem to be drawn to that and it’s exhilarating is really what I think it is. It’s a rush.”

“Goosebumps Alive” runs at The Vaults until June 5. A children’s version, for five to 11 year olds, opens next month.

Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Additional reporting by Saskia O'Donoghue, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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