Designing an immersive experience for an audience as obsessive as Doctor Who fans would seem almost completely impossible. Designing an immersive experience that works for both Doctor Who fans and fans of immersive theatre is more impossible still. Designing one that works both for casual viewers of Who and the ultra-obsessives: the ultimate in impossible feats.
That Time Fracture very nearly completely pulls this off is seriously impressive. All of these groups will find something to love as part of this experience. All will probably find something that niggles at them. I would say that none will find those niggles so overwhelming that they don’t come away having enjoyed the experience.
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to Who fans. I think I have seen every single episode of modern Who, and following a rewatch project with an ex about a decade ago, most of old Who too. I knew who the Silurians and the Master were before they were resurrected and enjoyed the nods to old and new alike in the show without feeling the need to correct geeky details (in fact, my one quibble came about a throwaway line about Northern Ireland!).
Time Fracture is a show of two halves – the first where groups take on separate roles and have quite different experiences and the second where we are brought together as one Galifreyan entity. It ran through the gamut of Who experiences and emotions – including a genuinely brilliantly unsettling sequence that includes a brilliant switcheroo of baddies that left me unsettled and definitely looking for a sofa to hide behind.
There were moments when I felt a little ridiculous but – to be fair – that too is part of the Whoniverse. It is all a bit ridiculous – and that’s all part of the fun.
For me, the niggles come in the fact that this felt more interactive than it did immersive. That is probably largely due to the size of the production and the amount of pre-recorded content (which, as a fan of many doctors brought a bit of a tear to my eye) which was integral to the experience, despite lots of “missions” I never felt at any point that my decision making was integral to the experience as I have at other immersive shows.
But if you take this for what it is – a chance to get inside and interact with the Whoniverse on terms fans could not have imagined before the reboot, it is a charming, fun and exciting way of doing so. From the bowels of UNIT to the Councils of galifrey, a fan at any level can throw themselves mightily into enjoying and partaking in the world of their favourite show. What a lovely, charming and enduring way to extend your favourite Saturday night.
https://www.immersivedoctorwho.com/ Tickets from £29.95