Doctor Who: Time Fracture at Immersive LDN
Every science fiction fan relishes the opportunity to be submerged in the world of their favourite show, so Doctor Who aficionados must be so grateful that BBC Studios have licensed the Who-niverse for transformation into a piece of immersive theatre.
In Doctor Who: Time Fracture, the production team, led by Rebecca Brower, do a perfect job of bringing the world to life with mesmerising makeup, stunning costumes and wondrous sets infused with Easter eggs. The Covid-restricted execution and narrative of the show, however, could leave less entranced participants bemused or underwhelmed.
Before entering the fracture, the audience are cast as volunteers sent to a UNIT laboratory recommended by the Doctor himself. The action in this set-piece, though, feels overly confusing. The handful of UNIT-dressed actors, who are the guides for this scene, seem to be haphazardly rushing around, shouting, or sending audience members on tasks they may or may not awkwardly complete. Fortunately, a Dalek attack on UNIT means Jodie Whittaker and David Bradley’s doctors can save the day and allow the narrative to progress.
Upon entering the time fracture, audience members’ journeys can continue through Brolls’ Salvage and Import Export Emporium, Leonardo da Vinci’s studio and Elizabethan-era England, before boarding cruise-ship ZZ1, which functions as an interval. The ship is hijacked, leading to the finale in Gallifrey for the resurrection of Rasillon.
Each actor along the way, whether as human or alien, delivers their performance with the utmost élan. The issue, though, is that their enthusiasm is undone by a weak plot by Daniel Kingsdale that is lost beneath the seemingly random shepherding by the time guides.
Some moments on the journey, like being made to dance and find a suitor in the audience for Elizabeth I, feel unnecessarily pantomimic and wasted. Those who are stuck in these moments can only watch as opportunities to engage with Gallifreyan agent Zoria, Brian the Ood and Dalek creator Davros drift by.
The finale at Gallifrey, which involves a reunion of all incarnations of the Doctor and an exhilarating and unnerving trip through the basement of the Weeping Angels, dispels the disappointment of the first act. It also reminds viewers that the visually stunning segments are where the joy is to be found in this show. One just has to hope to be lucky enough to be taken on the right journey along the way.
Doctor Who: Time Fracture is at Immersive LDN from 18th June 2021 until 17th April 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.