“What’s the best way to assassinate somebody?” asked Brian the Ood. It wasn’t a question I was expecting to be asked, especially by a space alien wearing a dinner jacket, but hey, I knew this Dr Who immersive performance was going to have some random moments.
You could be forgiven for thinking this was some kind of cosplay event. In fact, I was taking part in the immersive Dr Who Time Fracture performance with Helen, my eldest daughter and a fellow Whovian. Brian, along with Elsa, a member of the cabin crew from an intergalactic space liner, had befriended us and was helping us with our mission.
The mission? No pressure or anything, but it was to save the universe.
The Time Fracture: What you need to know
The whole experience take place in a non-descript building in West London. Fittingly enough, the building is Tardis-like and seemingly opens up into cavernous proportions with several different, incredibly impressive sets as you make your way through the adventure.
It’s been produced by Immersive Everywhere in partnership with the BBC. I won’t give you too many details as I don’t want to spoil the surprise should you decide to participate in the Time Fracture experience yourself.
That said, it transpires there’s been fracture in time and space. This ‘Time Fracture’ was identified in 1942 and was being monitored by the mysterious U.N.I.T. organisation.
Alas, something is afoot. U.N.I.T. has noticed surges in different radiation levels. Your job, as volunteers for U.N.I.T. is to go forwards in time to obtain several elements that could, hopefully, save the universe and all that is in it.
I say you go forwards in time, but maybe you go backwards? Who knows, it’s confusing and wibbly wobbly stuff.
Okay, so what really happens?
Yeah, all right, that was a bit geeky. I’ll explain again and give some additional detail in plain English.
Once you’ve arrived at the U.N.I.T. headquarters, you are greeted by a scientist resplendent in a lab coat. The scientist gives you an overview of the Time Fracture and explains that it’s getting a bit lively and the consequences could be catastrophic.
You’re then whisked through some double doors. What greets you on the other side is an impressive set staffed by actors who go some considerable way to involve you in an impressive, high-energy performance. It’s so high energy that at first it’s a bit difficult to figure out exactly what is going on.
After a short while, the Time Fracture then opens up and you make your way through it for another scene on another impressive set. This is where Helen and I came across Brian the Ood and Elsa. Oh, yeah, we also came across Elizabeth I, Leonardo da Vinci, and Davros (the leader of the Daleks).
From this point on, the adventure picks up significantly. It’s fast-paced, fun, the actors are brilliant with their ad-libbing and the set really is stunning.
What tops it off is the quality of the costumes. Brian the Ood looked amazing with his tentacles and translation sphere. The Doctors looked first rate and as for the half-man half-pig hybrid, well he looked terrifying (even if he was affable).
With this part of the mission complete, you make your way on to a luxury space liner where there is an interlude. You can get yourself a drink and listen to a performance by some incredibly impressive singers (they’re dressed like aliens although I couldn’t identify them). Seriously, I don’t know where these singers have been recruited from, but they are first rate, singing fitting tunes such as Radiohead’s Creep.
Once refreshed, it’s on to the finale and the culmination of the entire event. The finale itself involves a showdown between rival factions of the Gallifreyan High Council in the Panopticon, one side wanting to blow up the universe and start afresh, the other thinking this a bad idea. Which side wins? You’ll have to take part yourself to find out!
Thoughts on the Time Fracture immersive performance
I have a small confession. This was the second time Helen and I took part in the Tim Fracture experience. We did it last May and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was curious to see if the experience had changed much.
I think there was more interaction between actors and participants second time around, especially in the final scene in the Panopticon. I also don’t recall actors taking us under their wing on our first visit the way Brian and Elsa did. On that basis, I think with more experience and practice, the cast have figured things out and it made for a better experience.
Helen said she felt the first scene was a bit “slow.” I’d agree with that. There was some scene setting mixed in with a lot of randomness as scientists in lab coats ran around lots, although I got the impression this was probably to make you feel confused before the second scene gets underway.
If you are thinking of taking part yourself, I’d say some knowledge of Dr Who would be useful. You don’t need to be a hardcore, cosplaying, bow-tie and fez wearing Whovian, but if you don’t know your Gallifreyan from your Davros or your Whitaker from your Smith then you may struggle a bit with some of the references.
In terms of age suitability, I’d say it was ideally suited for those aged 10 and above. I did notice one young boy who must have been about eight years of age taking part with his mum and dad. He looked terrified when he came face to face with Davros so I would keep this in mind.
In summary, the Dr Who Time Fracture is an engaging experience for anyone aged 10 years or older. The actors and singers are superb and the sets are first rate. It’s different, it’s fun and so good I’ve done it twice!
The Dr Who Time Fracture immersive performance takes place on a side alley called Davies Mews, a short walk from Oxford Street in Central London. Bookings are being taken until April, 2022 and tickets start at £29.95 a person with several performances each day. For more information or to book, follow this link. At the time of writing, participants were expected to wear face coverings in line with COVID-19 restrictions.