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You Me Bum Bum Train

Published 6 July 2010

Exhilarating, pulse racing, uncomfortable, hilarious, stressful and life-affirming, You Me Bum Bum Train is truly a performance unlike any other.

Tucked away on the unassuming Cambridge Heath Road is an experience that has been leaving people gasping for air for six years. Now produced in association with the Barbican, for £12 you get 40 life-changing minutes squeezed tightly with dozens of surreal moments and grin-inducing situations.

The problem is, of course, that I am a) unable to tell you exactly what happened in those 40 minutes and b) unwilling to do so in case it takes any split second of surprise out of your experience.

Suffice to say, I can reveal that it takes place in a disused office building with plentiful doors through which you enter a new world, and that most of your travelling will be done in an NHS standard wheelchair, hurtled and sometimes politely pushed around the building by various characters.

Travelling on your own, with each audience member starting the ride at different times, you never see another participant but do come across over 200 cast members, each waiting for you in the labyrinth of rooms containing different scenarios.

Whilst not for the faint-hearted, even those against audience participation will flourish under You Me Bum Bum Train circumstances, where you get to act out situations that, for me, even included making one or two personal dreams come true.

Past shows have required participants to partake in a game show, throw a punch, ride on a bob sleigh in an ice tunnel or do some rum-fuelled solo karaoke. This year’s format is full of fresh, inspired scenarios, all set in meticulously detailed rooms that well and truly throw you out of reality, the room next door never bearing any similarity to the one you have just left.

Leaving you with a huge smile on your face – after the initial pre-show anticipation which is on a par to visiting the doctor for some very unpleasant test – I can’t help but feel that all decisions and conflicts would reach much more positive conclusions if only resolved after a ride around this building, which finishes by reuniting you with the rest of the audience in the final room, in a scenario that only You Me Bum Bum Train could create with such panache.

CM


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