Review: Doctor Who – Time Fracture (Immersive LDN)
The show is based on the iconic series
In 1942, the Germans bombed a building in London, which scientists today have concluded actually caused a fracture in time, which may end time for all eternity. It is up to a brave set of volunteers to enter the time fracture, go on a mission to save the universe.
That's the premise of Doctor Who: Time Fracture, a new immersive adventure in central London. Built around the iconic worlds and characters seen in the beloved TV show, it lets audience members into the heart of the franchise and take control of their adventure. The sets (designed by Rebecca Brower) are exquisite - the world building here is strong. From science labs to spaceships featuring in-flight alien cabaret entertainment ("Life on Mars", anyone?), you are transported to various worlds with every step you take. There are plenty of small references for eagle-eyed fans too, such a fish fingers in custard sat on a desk and Van Gogh's "Starry Night" hung on a wall.
The actors are superb - you have to be a strong performer for this kind of show and the players here definitely deliver. At one point we find ourselves helping Shakespeare (Max Krupski) write his play for Queen Elizabeth I (Bethany Blake), culminating in a performance at court. Time Lord Guides, bearing some resemblances to the incarnations that came before them, are scattered throughout the experience, leading you to new worlds and keeping you updated with how your mission is going.
As for the legendary monsters and aliens? Don't worry, you'll see plenty of them too. In fact, there's one scene that borders on being like a scare maze. You'll have to keep your eyes open for that one, if you know what I mean...
I personally don't know a lot about Doctor Who, I've seen a few episodes and I can tell you the main moments and characters but that's about it. Luckily, my companion (ha, ha) for the evening knew a lot more than me so we could test if the experience really does suit all levels of fandom like the production suggests.
It's definitely accessible, and you can have a lot of fun regardless of what knowledge level you're at. Perhaps the only downside (and it's the same for a lot of immersive shows) is a lack of strong narrative. The show starts off with high stakes: the universe is in our hands, save it. But from there on, the focus of the mission slips away.
As we are left to roam worlds without a guide, occasionally being picked up by actors and whisked to small side rooms, you wonder what you might be missing out on. It feels like there are key parts of the story going on elsewhere: while hanging out at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, there are glimpses of an Ood and a robotic bellboy hitting itself against the wall. Often being the last group to be ushered to the next big scene (particularly when we arrive at Gallifrey), you get the sense that you've joined halfway through a play and are not getting the full story.
Regardless of lack of strong narrative, fans are going to love it. The attention to detail is strong and video cameos from cast members such as Jodie Whittaker and Matt Smith are a treat.
This is certainly a lot of wibbly wobbly timey wimey fun.