The Soulless Ones review: Hammer Horror's first foray into immersive theatre is a hauntingly atmospheric evening of vampiric voyeurism

 
Steve Hogarty
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The Soulless Ones
4.0

An immersive theatre performance in which you and a few dozen members of the audience scurry about Hoxton Hall like invisible Victorian perverts, The Soulless Ones stars a cabal of ancient vampires attempting to perform the blood ritual that will allow them to walk in the daylight.

Your borrowed cloak allows you to not just blend in with the gothic scenery, but to silently peer through the veil that separates our world from theirs – a dramatic device that means you can get right under the noses of the oblivious actors during their scenes, or chase them up and down staircases to follow their personal storylines. There are over a hundred scenes playing out concurrently in half a dozen rooms over two hours, so you only see a fraction of all there is to see.

The flitting vampires and their entourage put in convincing performances. The Soulless Ones is legendary British studio Hammer Horror’s first foray into immersive theatre, and characters like the occult researcher Nathaniel Blythe, the spectacularly coiffed vamp-queen Carmilla, and the anaemic roadie and willing human victim Dimi, are all vivid archetypes inspired by its own half-century old filmography.

Set design is enchantingly detailed as well: from the plush master bedroom upstairs, to the basement-turned-graveyard with its mist-shrouded moss floors and grotesque, staring statues. Pop into the bar mid-ritual to grab a themed-cocktail, and you can enjoy a vampire minstrel plucking away in the corner, occasionally joined by one of the more tuneful characters on their way to another scene.

While not a frightening as you’d expect (at no point will you be molested by a blood-soaked oik or prodded by a cackling banshee) The Soulless Ones is a hauntingly atmospheric, if a little hands-off, evening of vampiric voyeurism.

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