There are some pretty epic train rides out there: the luxurious Orient Express, Alton Towers’ reckless Runaway Mine Train, the continent-spanning Trans-Siberian Railway, J K Rowling’s legendary Hogwarts Express… the list goes on.
But no amount of Chocolate Frogs or Every Flavour Beans could ever make a train ride more enjoyable than the one had on the You Me Bum Bum Train.
Of course it’s not actually a train. The 40-minute experience, which is staged in a 1980s municipal building in Stratford, takes you on a solo journey through an evolving world of different settings and scenarios that leaves you wondering – and excitedly anticipating – what’s going to be around the next corner.
The build-up to the experience is less like waiting at a railway station and more like sitting in a dentist’s waiting room about to have your teeth pulled out. The cartoon characters killing each other on the TV certainly don’t do anything to help the situation.
But fear soon turns to fun as you dive quite literally headfirst into the immersive theatrical experience ingeniously conceived by artists Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd. Hundreds of actors, all of whom are volunteers, create an awe-inspiring adventure that embodies Freud’s notion of the uncanny, being both strangely familiar and completely out of the ordinary.
There’s no denying the journey takes you out of your comfort zone, stretching your improvisation skills to the max as you and only you – for there isn’t another audience member in sight – become the star of this unique and unforgettable production.
That’s not to say it’s exclusively for the self-assured extroverts out there. You Me Bum Bum Train provides a series of inspiring and life-affirming encounters that will leave even the faint-hearted wanting more, in part because, no matter what you wanted to be when you were little, there is an aspect of You Me Bum Bum Train that enables you to fulfil a childhood dream… or 10.
To say too much more would not only spoil the surprise for future passengers but is also strictly forbidden, though if you’re thinking of trying skydiving or bungee jumping any time soon, forget it; You Me Bum Bum Train is the ultimate exhilarating experience.