Friday, March 30, 2007


Edinburgh Dungeon

Being tourists we decided to walk around and find fun stuff to do. The Edinburgh Dungeons would appear to be the central trap for such people and we fell in, much to our cost.

Spoiler alert for anyone who is planning to visit the Dungeons.

The website declares:
"Transport yourself back to the darkest moments in the Scotland's history within the deep depths of the Edinburgh Dungeon. Live actors, shows, a spooky ride and interactive special effects ensure that you face your fears head on in this unique experience. Everything that you see is based on real historical events from the gruesome tale of Burke & Hare, to Edinburgh's Great Fire, torture and the plague. With a chilling boat ride into the lair of cannibal Sawney Bean the Edinburgh Dungeon provides a thrilling and fun experience that will leave you screaming for more! A day out for the family based on pain, fear, torture and death...are you brave enough?"

The best part of the "experience" is the live acting. A bunch of people take on the roles of various characters from Edinburgh's less publicised past and interact with the audience (you move round the dungeon in a group). They are fun people and everybody has a great time despite the chance of being forced to "take part".

The very first actor you meet plays a judge in his courtroom. He brings you in and then goes through a door to climb up to his pulpit (or whatever). I'm a sucker for the gag where you can hear him stepping up far more steps than there could physically be to get to where he's going. Gets me every time.

I was "lucky" enough to be commanded from the audience to the Dock. After I climbed the short steps, I automatically took a confident posture - leaning forwards with both hands on the rail - which caused the Judge to state that I was obviously no stranger to the dock {roars of laughter from those in the audience NOT selected, which continued louder when the false accusations of cross-dressing were read out}.

Next room is the graveyard. As we stood around by the gates waiting to left in, I could see a cloaked figure approaching but a couple of women with their backs to the gates couldn't. The squeals as he crept up and scared them were music to your ears. The actor then goes on to relate stories about the plague before handing us over to the lady who will entertain is with Burke & Hare tales.

The surgery is comical and her acting entertaining - I can imagine young children would be really amused. Again, the quality of acting is essential as the rooms are pretty drab and plain with little to look at or read.

The vampire hunter in the next room was a laugh - and there were actually some props around to look at while he went through his script. Unfortunately he leads you onto the "chilling boat ride" which I admit is a bit scarey as it is very dark. It is not scarey from any of the flashing lights and noise they use - I am still confused as to what the whole point was.

Off the boat we get to Sawney Bean (a character played by an earlier actor) which is Ok but the props seem to be showing wear and tear. I'm starting to tire of the grubby greyness of the place.

Lastly we are McDonalds trapped in a cottage beset by Campbells at Glencoe. It isn't very often you will see a group of adults all pretending to be sheep so that the Campbells move onto the next cottage.

And then it is on to the shop, which is very extensive. I can see that they bring in a lot of income per square foot from this place compared to the whole Dungeon labyrinth. If you do wish to take in this attraction, I suggest picking up any discount vouchers you can find and making sure you move through the gift shop ASAP.


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