Paul T Davies reviews Doctor Who – Time Fracture, the latest immersive theatre experience to hit London.
Doctor Who Time Fracture.
UNIT HQ, London.
16 June 2021
I can’t imagine anyone going to see this show who isn’t a fan of Doctor Who, or, indeed, anyone reading this review! I love the show, and whilst I’m not strictly the full Whovian, I would class myself a Whoover. Immersive Everywhere are to be congratulated, along with the entire company, for creating a truly immersive experience of the Whoniverse, brilliantly designed by Rebecca Brower, that drops you into the alternative worlds, beginning at Unit HQ, where, in the 1940s, an anomaly, a Time Fracture, was discovered, and now it’s breaking, threatening the whole of time itself. The problem with Daniel Dingsdale’s script is that, like recent series, it’s a two-hour “special” within which a cracking 45-minute story is battling to be heard.
The main problem I had was with the acoustics and sound, this is a VERY loud show, with various characters shouting at sections of the audience at the same time. It’s a good half hour before the audience actually cross the Time Fracture, and the guides lead us through the different worlds. It’s an annoyingly loud show, and, being 6ft 7 and a good foot taller than many of the cast, there’s no chance of me giving away spoilers, as I just couldn’t hear anything. I’m sure we were told to look out for a Nazi Thermometer, but that can’t be right? I still haven’t found it anyway. At another point, the guide wanted me to crawl through a fireplace. I’m sorry my dear, I’m not a Hobbit. The show is an assault on the senses and could do with some calming down.
However, there are many positives, not least the terrific cast of companions and guides, fizzing with energy and totally committed to the story they are telling. It was thrilling coming face to face with Davros, (excellent Angus Brown), and the Weeping Angels are truly terrifying. (No, I wasn’t screaming, you were!) There are Daleks and Cybermen, but these are fleeting moments and the show needs much more of them. When we finally arrive at Gallifrey, (after a very long interval in the inter-galactic bar), the Time Lords, of course, have to have a very long heated debate, in a room lacking air conditioning, instead of just pushing a button and bringing the show to close. At times the show has the stately, but plodding, pace of Doctor One, when it needs the exuberant energy of Eleven.
In saying that, there is a huge amount for fans to enjoy, including Easter eggs to find, (I was proud to spot fish fingers and custard), all regenerations of the Doctor make an appearance, and families will have fun, although the Weeping Angles may be too much for younger viewers? With all that is going on in the world, it’s a delight to forget about this universe and immerse yourself in others, a triumph of time and space.
All photos by Mark Senior