Intricately plotted, staged and performed immersive production Time Fracture is sure to delight Doctor Who fans and newcomers alike with its heart-racing, engaging premise
In the almost-60 years since transmitting its first episode, Doctor Who has become so much more than just a show about an eccentric alien traversing space and time with a group of friends. From movies, to cartoons, to comic strips, to books, to theatre shows, to full cast audio adventures, Doctor Who has truly become a multi-sensory experience. It is small wonder, therefore, that it now exists as an immersive experience in Doctor Who: Time Fracture, finally permitting viewers the chance to become part of one of the Doctor’s madcap adventures themselves.
Starting off at a UNIT secret headquarters in the back alleys of Bond Street, volunteers are recruited to investigate the mysterious phenomena of the Time Fracture, which is causing all manner of strange events around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower rocking from side to side or dinosaurs roaming New York City. Forced to journey through the Time Fracture, volunteers are then met by a variety of Gallifreyan guides who lead the group through a series of tasks that help them identify where the Time Fracture was caused so that its effects can be contained.
Throughout, visitors to Time Fracture truly feel the sense of being in an actual Doctor Who tale. The sets and locations are created with a stunning eye for detail, including a whole host of Easter eggs that are sure to delight diehard fans. Small post-it notes such as “Do not contact Donna Noble under any circumstances”, a stray packet of Jammie Dodgers, graffiti proclaiming “Are You My Mummy?”, one can really tell that the experience has been crafted with a whole lot of Whovian love.
From the same team behind The Great Gatsby immersive experience, in typical Doctor Who fashion, visitors are presented with seemingly boundless possibilities for their adventure. Written by Daniel Dingsdale, Time Fracture boasts a reported 17 different worlds and 42 different characters. The experience is utterly unique for each individual audience member, based upon which actors they choose to interact with and how much they interact. This lends the experience an unparalleled amount of revisit-ability, to allow visitors to truly appreciate each of the intricately interwoven concurrent plotlines.
It is impossible not to notice the considerable talent of the performers themselves. With the adventure informed by the members of the audience, plus precision timing with other elements of the show that are occurring in other sets involving other audience members, there is an obscene amount of material that these performers must get their heads around, all while delivering a cohesive and clear narrative.
That is not to say, however, that this experience is overwhelming or requires a comprehensive knowledge of all things Who to appreciate it. Time Fracture has appeal for novices to experts alike, and is suitable for all ages. The plot itself has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end which ensures that audience members are clear about the events that they have just taken part in, though the high turnover in cast does mean that the message becomes somewhat diluted from the initial mission to its climax.
The immersive theatrical experience may not appeal to all. There is an awkward level of interaction necessitated by audience members, meaning that they are essential and integral to the plot moving forwards and yet the individual contributions of audience members doesn’t wholly matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The main plotline will play out regardless of the audience, demanding a certain level of complicit observing. For example, an assassination attempt carried out on a space liner is placidly watched by all, despite everyone being aware of this assassination for quite a while beforehand. Visitors must therefore walk the awkward tightrope between contributing enough to give the plot forward momentum (and to help out the beleaguered, wholly committed actors) without derailing the entire story.
(To speak anecdotally for a moment, while persuading the Kerblam! man that I was, in fact, from head office and was therefore allowed to see the documents that we needed to in order to progress the plot, I had to respond to two questions. First one being that there is some sort of alien incursion. The Chinese want me on the telephone to know what I’m going to do. How am I going to remedy the solution? By hanging up, of course. Next on the agenda: firing someone. My masterful attempt. “You’re fired”. Response: This is entirely unjust! I’ll take this to a tribunal! Me: Be my guest. Apparently this was enough to convince the Kerblam! man of my management status but, personally, I shall be curtailing my career development and, indeed, any aspirations for a career in improvisation at this juncture.)
This also means that there is an unfortunate luck of the draw when it comes to the individual experience. Whilst my plotline involved me somehow being scooped up by a huge variety of Gallifreyan guides (and sometimes forgetting just what was happening), other visitors may stagnate with just a few of these and lose sight of the mission at large. For example, I know of a couple who went to see it who became so preoccupied with marrying Elizabeth I that they wholly missed out on the vast majority of other experiences and found themselves somewhat underwhelmed.
Featuring a host of recognisable creatures from the Whoniverse, including the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Ood, not to mention cameos filmed by Doctor Who stars Jodie Whittaker, David Bradley, Alex Kingston and Jemma Redgrave, Time Fracture finally allows fans to live their dreams of being a companion of the Doctor, and saving the universe – however meagre their individual contributions may be.
Doctor Who: Time Fracture is booking until September 2022. Tickets can be purchased here.