Review: You Me Bum Bum Train 2012

Having ridden You Me Bum Bum Train twice before, and reviewed the show on both occasions, trying my best not to give anything away, I am demurring from a substantive third review – after all , there are only so many ways to skip around the same subject whilst attempting not to reveal too much. I was actually the victim of good karma in this for once: I’d initially bought two pairs of tickets the very second they were released on the Barbican website with the intention of allowing friends who had not experienced the show before to have a go. As it was, the enforced rescheduling of one of the pairs meant that I had to give those away to other people, but in the midst of all the discussing and transactions, I was offered someone else’s spare ticket at the last minute, and so off I went to Stratford, unable to resist one more time.

And once again I loved it. It pushed and challenged me, and thrilled and excited me in equal measure – again I did something I never thought I’d ever do and such a feeling is wonderful to experience, especially in the heady rush that is the speedy journey on the train. Familiarity with the concept does dull some of its effect though, even just knowing the kind of thing to expect means that one can prepare a little for it which robs some of the spontaneity that made the first time so special. What replaces the sense of fear, for me at least, is a more relaxed attitude that means you can play with the format and push the boundaries a little – I was determined to make at least two sets of performers corpse, as I did last time, and I managed it 😉 Continue reading “Review: You Me Bum Bum Train 2012”

Review: You Me Bum Bum Train 2011, plus news about extension

“If the experiences are expected, they feel less real, lessening the psychological and emotional impact the scenes have on unsuspecting passengers”

Are things ever as good as the first time? Well, it is usually different to say the least and so it was with the latest incarnation of You Me Bum Bum Train which has taken up residence in a disused office block on New Oxford Street for the next few weeks. I was able to ride the Train last year due to a completely random piece of booking on the Barbican website whilst snowed in at my parents’ house, I knew nothing of the show and it was pure chance that I happened to pick up tickets for what was apparently the fastest-ever selling show for the Barbican. That first experience was absolutely sensational, completely unlike anything I had ever done before and it initially thrilled and terrified me in equal measure before the sense of sheer wonderment set in at what I had been through.

The Train is a site-specific, interactive, personal journey that you take on your own through a series of experiences, encounters and adventures, populated by literally hundreds of volunteers, which range from the surreal to the exhilarating to the challenging to the everyday. Taken together over a non-stop 40 minute period, they form an unparalleled adventure which has to be one of the most liberating things you will ever do. Participants are honour-bound not to reveal the details of the show in order not to detract from the mystery that surrounds it – a tough job for a reviewer! – and ultimately that forms part of the beauty of entering this world – the unexpectedness of it all is what makes it so much fun. Continue reading “Review: You Me Bum Bum Train 2011, plus news about extension”

Blogged: the return of You Me Bum Bum Train

Sound the klaxon, blow the whistle, You Me Bum Bum Train is coming back! It ranked as my second favourite thing that I saw in the entirety of last year and I could not be happier to be able to experience what Kate Bond, Morgan Lloyd and their tireless team have in store for us this time around. It is quite difficult to explain just what You Me Bum Bum Train is without giving it away, and a massive part of the pleasure is the complete unexpectedness of what it is that lies in store for you. Though it may seem a little scary, and believe me just before I went in last year I was genuinely freaked out and very close to backing out, but I persevered and boy am I glad that I did as I got to do things I never dreamed I would ever do, and will most likely never get the chance again!

What I can say is that rather than being a traditional show, You Me Bum Bum Train is ‘a participatory theatrical experience’: you enter on a solo adventure that takes surreal twist and turns that will introduce you to a world like no other where you will get opportunities like no other. It may sound a little intimidating, especially for the more reticent, but it is done with such a huge amount of sensitivity and such an amazingly supportive atmosphere that you never feel exposed or embarrassed, but rather encouraged to have the best time you can possibly have. So put any doubts whatsoever to the side, embrace the unknown and take the plunge as you will only kick yourself if you don’t! But move quickly, tickets sold out for last year’s run in nano-seconds – making it the fastest ever selling show at the Barbican. Continue reading “Blogged: the return of You Me Bum Bum Train”

Review: You Me Bum Bum Train, Barbican at LEB Building

You Me Bum Bum Train is something quite special and quite different. An exhilarating participatory Created by artists Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd in Brighton in 2004, the show/installation/experience has taken on different forms and different locations, developing each time. This particular incarnation has been supported by the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award which they won last year and having been commissioned by the Barbican, they’ve set up shop at the old London Electricity Board building in Bethnal Green.

Having looked at a few of the reviews now that I’ve had my experience, it is a little disappointing to see how many of them start “I’ve been sworn to secrecy about what happened to me, but I can tell I did do this and it involved that…”, so much of the pleasure comes from having absolutely no idea whatsoever lies in store and so I’d avoid reading anything at all about the show beforehand to let the experience hit you full on and unspoiled. The only thing I will say is that I did at least two things which I never thought I’d ever get to do, not quite lifelong ambitions but I’m tickled pink that I have done them nonetheless. Continue reading “Review: You Me Bum Bum Train, Barbican at LEB Building”