Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Doctor Who: Time Fracture…

**No Spoilers**  **Well, maybe a few small ones***
 
Last Saturday night Stuart and I went to the 'ground-breaking Immersive Theatrical Adventure' (it says here) Doctor Who: Time Fracture in London's glitzy Davis Street.
 
A bit silly, somewhat messy, and quite chaotic, Doctor Who: Time Fracture starts from the moment we had your temperature taken outside UNIT HQ. UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) soldiers were there to greet us before we were ushered inside and given a briefing by their boss. We were volunteers, recommended by The Doctor, who have come to save all of Time and Space. A bomb has been dropped during the Blitz in 1942 and it has created a fracture in time, which we are here to investigate and, hopefully, fix. We then stepped out of the briefing room and into the beating, beeping, and whirring heart of UNIT's mission control centre where the 'fun' started.
 
What followed over the next two hours was lots of running around, being shouted at by men in white lab coats, a few Daleks bumping about, and being ushered into and out of a series of admittedly very impressively constructed Doctor Who sets/worlds. 
 
The production values are high, I'll give it that, but the narrative less so. We had no idea hwat was going on. And inevitably due to the nature of immersive theatre, it is impossible to see everything, so we were left with the feeling "what did I miss?" There are 13 sets: the only ones we glimpsed were the Alien Marketplace, Elizabeth I's Court, Da Vinci's room, Shakespeare's room, Torchwood lab (both Victorian and modern), and the Cybermen's icy tomb. Each set (and within those sets) were multiple tasks to complete. The tasks generally came to nought though as they seemed to just be ways to pass the time.
 
Equally frustrating to not see it all, we were unable to roam around so had to follow whichever random staffer grabbed us.
 
Luckily for us our little group of four were grabbed by a woman in fatigues and assigned as archaeologists tasked with finding certain alien artefacts. This involved some bartering with a bar tender, a bit of hunting through a broken washing machine, and negotiating a trade with pig-man wheeler-dealer Brolls (played by Maxwell Tyler). Once we obtained all the artefacts that allowed us to enter a hidden place no one else did - and release a Doctor Who foe that ended up invading all the other scenes. Opps.
 
There is a much needed 30 minute mid-show interval with a bar, toilets and cabaret (with stunning voices of a Silurian and a Crespallion.)
 
The story then continues through a dark corridor where we meet some other enemies of The Doctor in a genuinely terrifying encounter, and then we arrive at the National Gallery, in front of the painting Gallifrey Falls No More, before being thrust into the heart of a Time Lord debate, where the whole story comes to a head. 
 
With cameos from well-known aliens, and even more well known faces and voices, this production is a treat for any Whovian. However whilst the story might be clever and interesting, it gets lost and becomes confusing and muddled. Paired with a sound design that favours atmospherics over dialogue and you end up with significant moments becoming a struggle to understand what the hell is going on. 
 
As the show reaches its extended climax (on a well-known planet), the narrative becomes only slightly clearer. A fun night out but I can only give it 3/5. Fun to spot the DW Easter Eggs but it is all a bit of a mess. It needs much more focus.












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