Doctor Who: Time Fracture is the newest experience by Immersive Everywhere which has opened at the appropriately titled UNIT HQ in Central London. The production centres around the concept of a bomb, not of its time, which is thought to have been dropped during the Blitz in 1942. This particular bomb caused ‘fractures’ throughout time which have laid dormant until now. As volunteers, handpicked by The Doctor, it is the role of the audience to undertake a journey to uncover the truth and prevent the destruction of the universe.
This high-stakes narrative is typical of any Doctor Who tale and is an apt way to be thrown into the immersive piece. However, the first chunk of the production is certainly the weakest as the cast members, through no fault of their own, struggle to make a large amount of exposition as exciting as possible. As each new intake of audience members is added to the mix and the room fills up to capacity, the performers are forced to raise their voices over each other to address their portion of the room, in a dramatic sequence which borders on messy rather than exhilarating.
Eventually the plot progresses, or arguably gets started, as the audience enter the fracture and the time-jumping begins. The production design is completely phenomenal and an absolute delight to traverse, allowing dedicated fans to relive many memories from the series as they undertake their own adventure. The set, props and costumes of recognisable locations and aliens are so accurate that some surely must be taken from the archives of the original television production.
The cast do a brilliant job of keeping the story alive and are so committed to the immersive nature of the piece. The audience are organically split up by cast members who pull them away from the main group for private missions and it is here that the production truly shines. The interwoven mini-missions are very well orchestrated and intelligently cross over each other so, along with everyone else in the other groups, you still feel that your branch of the story must be the main one.
This is certainly an experience which you get as much from as you put in, whether that is humouring the prospect of ‘bracing yourself’ during power spikes or getting hands on for the interactive problem-solving moments. Regardless, the actors know how to read the room and provide adequate prompts and guidance so that the action never stalls.
Themed bar areas are scattered throughout the production, and everyone gets the chance to sit down and experience at least one. These areas are most likely included to aid the logistics of managing so many audience members at once; however, they feel part of the journey nonetheless. A particular highlight of the production is one of these areas, a spaceship bar which houses the impressive vocal stylings of Daisy Winter-Taylor and Ellamae Cieslik — in full make-up and prosthetics of course.
The concluding scene of the piece, unfortunately but understandably, reverts back to the ‘everyone is in the same room’ format which is not the production’s strength. It is overly long as the story cannot truly go anywhere until everyone has arrived into the space, and it lacks the personal touches which make the intricate middle section so fantastically immersive and engaging.
Doctor Who: Time Fracture is a terrific experience with ample content to thrill fans of the show, while suitably engaging for those new to the franchise too. With a talented and engaging cast, outstanding production value, and a great narrative to it, this is an exciting and ambitious production; diminished only slightly by the logistics of managing such large audiences at once.
Doctor Who: Time Fracture is playing UNIT HQ until 17 April 2022. For more information and tickets, see Immersive Doctor Who online.