We tried the Punchdrunk Porsche partnership and it was pretty funky
The partnership is tied to the company's new immersive show The Burnt City
It's not every day you get driven to a show in an electric Porsche.
But that's what Punchdrunk are currently making happen with their immersive show The Burnt City, which is running in a massive pair of warehouses in Woolwich.
As part of a new partnership, the two companies will be holding a free monthly lottery for one winner and their guest to get a unique "money can't buy" (quite literally) experience, being picked up from their home in a Porsche Taycan car and driven to The Burnt City.
We tried the experience last week and, well, it was very much a funky ride. First of all, a big shout-out to our lovely driver Kevin, wading through central London traffic to Woolwich with some great chat along the way.
As we approached the venue (with the night darkening), the chat subsided while an ominous soundtrack and a voice over introduced us to the basic plot of the immersive piece – two cities, Troy and Mycenae, are duking it out, with families being torn apart by sacrifice, infidelity and lust. Kevin (now silent), drives us into a shady garage, where we're met by a company member, fully in character.
She guides us (on hands and knees) into a dark den, where we're treated to an intriguing monologue and a heady shot of something alcoholic, before being left with some parting words: "Follow the light". After that, we're catapulted out into the Burnt City with the rest of the audience, stalking characters through different scenes and immaculately designed rooms.
Wearing the iconic beaked Punchdrunk masks, ticket holders are simultaneously intangible and tangible – either spectral spectators to the action or, for the lucky ones, drawn into the action through the soft touch of the performers. There's a reason this company are the connoisseurs of immersive productions.
The "follow the light" instruction may have caused more confusion than it needed to – every time there was a particularly prominent light in the show I pointed it out to my partner and asked "maybe THAT'S what she was referring to", but that's a small issue.
I won't spoil the rest of the surprises (there is a nice VIP experience at the end of the show!) but as a major classics, Punchdrunk and immersive theatre nerd, there is a lot to be said for this partnership.
Anyone without a working knowledge of the Trojan War might want to do a bit of Wikipedia-ing first just to give themselves a head start, but as long as you stick to certain characters – Hecuba and Agamemnon (look for the bejewelled skull!) are the easiest to follow – it becomes a bit more straightforward to understand.
The narrative is also looped a few times, so you can really bolster your comprehension of the show, or decide to step away from the story and explore the various secret locations (apparently there was a hidden horse somewhere!) that are littered across the massive space.