Remember when you were a little kid coming off a particularly exhilarating fairground ride, screaming “again, again!”. That’s how Photographer 0 – the latest immersive experience from BROKENSTEREO left me feeling.
Partly this was because I’d gone all the way to Peckham for what was an extremely short theatrical experience. But mostly it was for all the good reasons I wanted that performance to last longer.
Anyone of my generations should remember Choose Your Own Adventure books. For a young precocious pre-teen, these opened up a fascinating world of possibilities and the thought that “what if I were the hero?”
It is precisely this experience brought to (sort of) life that Photographer 0 seeks to deliver. Upon arrival, you choose a colour which determines the path you will take. You are also given a book of instructions and a page number to start your quest. This first instruction will introduce you to you personal one-on-one guide ghost.
Mine was charmingly played by Beth Organ who didn’t break character despite my awful habit of adlibbing my way through immersive theatre. She led be beautifully through the quests and challenges, checked in when she thought I might be floundering and played the part of a mournful Victorian scientist perfectly.
The venue was basically a derelict house sandwiched between what I think was a bus garage and a car wash. You’d walk past it twice before realising it was your “theatre” (I know from personal experience having done just that) but it added to the atmosphere of the story just perfectly. The only complaint I would have is the thumping music from the venue next door (all presumably part of the same Peckham Festival) slightly detracted from the full atmosphere of the Victorian ghost story and occasionally even made it difficult to hear my own ghost.
But these are petty points, not enough to detract from an extremely enjoyable overall experience. My understanding from Director Daniel James Thompson is that they want to develop this into a long and even more immersive experience. I can say on the evidence available to me that they definitely have the makings of such a show.
All in all, this is definitely an adventure I would choose again.