Audience participants step into the time fracture

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Time Fracture is an entertaining and chaotic romp

Doctor Who: Time Fracture is a chaotic but entertaining whirlwind through the world of Doctor Who.

The immersive theatre production, based off the iconic BBC show, is more than two hours of frenetic fun as you whip through a series of interactive sets and meet a colourful cast of characters, friend and foe alike.

Right from your first moments stepping into Doctor Who: Time Fracture, it’s clear that the energy levels are high as you’re rushed into a set full of other groups of people already interacting with characters, all shouting over each other and the pace never slows from there.

The Mayfair-based show leans heavily on its incredibly intricate set and costume design and impressive performances from a willing cast to keep you engaged and invested as you hurtle from set to set, but that’s no bad thing as they are the shows’ biggest strengths.

Indeed, on multiple occasions during the show I found myself – visiting the show alone without a companion – unsure of where to go or what to do, only for a cast member to swoop in and engage me in an interesting conversation while dressed as an iconic Doctor Who character.

The sheer scale and sprawling narrative of the production makes it impossible to explore it all in one sitting, and honestly I didn’t feel as though I got anywhere close to exploring it all, as there were whole areas and rooms I never had the time to enter.

Whilst that certainly entices the show’s fans to go back and visit again, it can’t help but take its toll on the show’s overall narrative.

This feels like a COVID issue. You can see how the initial intention would have been for members of a group to split up in the first act, reconvene during the show’s interval and discuss what they had seen, putting the pieces of the puzzle together and mingling with other guests to do so.

However, in a world where members of a bubble have to stay together and social distancing needs to be practised, it means that you will be having the same experience as your friends and unable to really integrate with others having a different one, which certainly feels detrimental to the show’s sprawled plotting.

Two Cybermen in an alien marketplace as part of Doctor Who: Time Fracture. Credit: Mark Senior
CYBER ATTACK: The Doctor’s fiercest foes are all on display during the sprawling two-hour production. Credit: Mark Senior

The other problem is timing. Even though the show is over two hours long, I feel like if it had been twice that I would have still been enjoying it.

There were multiple character interactions which I found very engaging, but before I could follow them up, we were swept into the interval for a drink at a space bar.

However, as a Doctor Who fan, the overriding feeling I had from Doctor Who: Time Fracture was that it was made by Doctor Who fans, for Doctor Who fans and that comes to a head in the show’s excellent second act.

I can’t talk too much around the production’s plot without spoilers, but the cameos and monsters that are on display are well documented and they inject a real sense of excitement into proceedings.

The interactive elements keep you on your toes and there are times where you can get more out of it if you put more in, but it’s also fair to say that it’s difficult to feel too connected to it when the experience moves so fast, which is why when things do slow down towards the end, it has more emotional resonance.

As an unabashed Doctor Who fan, there was a real sense of visceral joy in seeing many of the elements of the show come to life, and the production keeps that feeling front and centre from start to finish.

Overall, Chief Creative Officer of production company Immersive Everywhere Brian Hook described Doctor Who: Time Fracture as a love letter to 58 years of Doctor Who and I don’t think I could put it better than that.

You can find out more information and buy tickets for Doctor Who: Time Fracture here.

Featured image credit: Mark Senior

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