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Fight Night review at the Vaults, London – ‘an immersive underground boxing match’

Pete Grimwood and Edward Linard in Fight Night at Vaults, London. Photo: Mark Senior
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Exit Productions’ Revolution was a mainstay at Vault Festival 2018 – a engaging but underdeveloped strategy game set in post-apocalyptic London. The company returns this year with Fight Night, an immersive, interactive boxing match, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

It’s all set during the shadowy build-up to a five-round boxing bout between two snarling fighters, the outcome of which is decided by the audience’s actions. There’s an element of gambling involved, too: you can earn chips throughout the night, then take advantage of fluctuating odds to place bets throughout the 90 minutes, the most successful ticket genuinely winning 2% of that show’s ticket sales – about a fiver.

And it gives its participants a lot of freedom and agency if they want it. There are multiple storylines, only some of which you can follow and assist, depending on the role you’re assigned and on where you choose to spend your time – in the dressing room, in the ringside VIP area, or at the blackjack table.

It’s undoubtedly sophisticated, but there’s still a lot that needs ironing out – certain strands didn’t work out on the night I attended, there was a bit too much standing around, and the mechanisms at play were a bit too opaque to completely engage.

But if it doesn’t quite succeed on an interactive level yet, it definitely does on an immersive one. The whole thing has an embracing air of underground authenticity, from the pre-fight trash talk, to the hush-hush wheeler-dealing, to the breathless climactic bout.

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Verdict
An immersive, interactive and entertainingly atmospheric  underground boxing match  
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