Review: An Immersive Dining Experience At The Bedford, London
A Shot in the Dark is an immersive dining experience combining theatre and food – Time and Leisure’s Ting Dalton headed to The Bedford in Balham to discover more
The Bedford in Balham has always been a hub of the community – a great drinking spot and restaurant. But it’s also at the forefront of showcasing live music, comedy and now immersive theatre and events. In fact, it has a number of unique shows – past interactive theatre include Medium Rare back at the beginning of the year – and last week with their immersive dining experience, A Shot in the Dark.
So what exactly is an immersive dining experience?
Good question, because before heading to The Bedford, I wasn’t too sure myself – being an immersive theatre virgin. The first thing that struck when we were shown to our table in front of the stage was that all the other attendees were dressed up in the most glorious 1920s costumes. They had all gone to town, from their hair to their clothes. I felt a little out of place, while my sister admonished me for not telling her. Thankfully, a few minutes later, several other people arrived having not got the memo, either.
Immersive Dining Experience – The Food
Being offered the same Sunday menu as diners in the main pub, there was a wide choice available from roast dinners, to gargantuan pizzas and small sharing plates. We opted for the latter and began with a naughty-but-nice baked camembert bread bowl, which was extremely moreish and flavoured with lashings of garlic and rosemary. The baby squid with paprika tartare was crispy and tender, while a bowl of roast potatoes went down a treat. Before the show ended, we also couldn’t resist sharing an apple crumble with custard – huge chunks of fruit topped with crunchy oats, ended our meal perfectly.
A Shot in the Dark
Before we had even started eating, we were greeted by ‘Larry’ one of the characters from the interactive theatre group. Gearing up towards the start of the show, other characters began flooding the area and sitting within the audience. At first, it was hard to distinguish who was who but with raised voices the show began in earnest…
A Shot in the Dark centres around a 1936 cabaret club where there one fallen starlet holds a grudge against the American actress who has stolen her lead spot. Meanwhile, gangsters are after the club owner Larry, who owes them a substantial amount of money.
Entwined with plenty of musical performance which was a good mix of modern and classic tunes, the drama unfolds as diners polish off their meals and sip their drinks. At times, it really did feel like we were in our very own cabaret club – audience members were chatting quietly as the leading ladies were singing, the waiting staff were still taking orders even though the ‘gangsters’ were skulking around the tables with their guns and baseball bats.
The musical performances from both Dolly and Regina were outstanding, but hats off to Larry who gave a surprising rendition of Nessun Dorma at the end in little else but a g-string and nipple tassels! But that’s the point of A Shot in the Dark – drama, excellent singing, sprinkled with a dose of silliness. However, the story was lacking in depth, there could have been much more exploration into the characters and their faults and why there was such animosity between them all. If there had been, then perhaps this interactive theatre performance could have gone on for longer. A Shot in the Dark seemed to end rather quickly.
I can now understand why so many decided to attend in costumes – it really does mean you immerse yourself more into the whole event, transporting yourself back in time to a bygone area. Although we weren’t looking the part, we enjoyed ourselves. This is a fun immersive theatre experience – being able to join in and chat with the actors, as well as scoff delicious food means it’s a great night out if you want something that little bit extra with your pub grub.
- The Bedford presents A Shot in the Dark. Keep an eye out for future immersive dining experiences at The Bedford throughout the rest of the year.