Fantastic Brussels: Bringing alive the history of the city and the Metropole Hotel
Fantastic Brussels is an immersive show that takes visitors on a journey back in time to experience the events that marked both the capital and the legendary Metropole Hotel.
Under the guidance of three young explorers - on a quest to find the hotel’s legendary guest book containing every famous name that stepped through its doors - the audience travels through four different rooms to discover the origins of the building that dates from the 1890s. Along the way, they learn about the historic episodes that had drastic consequences at home and abroad.
Both world wars, the Wall Street crash, the swinging sixties and even an interesting link to two passengers on the Titanic, are explained through stunning video-mapping, lasers and incredible miming.
For the panoramic and sensory adventure, created by Paul Licot and Benoît Meurens, visitors are equipped with headphones, which can be set to Fr, It, Sp, Eng or NL.
After passing through a curtain, visitors initially find themselves shrouded in darkness in a luxurious corridor of the hotel; music accompanys their wait. Suddenly, lasers bring the room to life and actors appear in the guise of explorers. Instead of speaking they mime, each character’s speech been pre-recorded played through the headphones.
Without giving too much away, the impressive video mapping is aligned with the unique neo-classical architecture of each room to deepen the immersion. The hotel is depicted as a living identity, providing insight into its own origins as a café built by the Wielemans brothers, owners of a local brewing company. There are 3D-modelled beer kegs projected on every wall, transporting everyone into the atmospheric brewery. Similar instances include a train travelling around the room to illustrate 20th-century Brussels and the sinking of the Titanic, while guns signify the start of World War One.
The sound backdrop via the headphones is remarkable. Whether it’s artillery going off, planes soaring or the stock exchange crashing, every noise resonates and adds to the experience. Additionally, the actors perform in total sync with the audio. As each character speaks, they move, or dance as music is played.
Overall, the 45-minute show’s technical aspects and Chaplinesque mimes shine a new light on Brussel’s history and bring the hotel’s luxurious architecture and history to life.
Until 28 February, 12.00-21.00
Place De Brouckère