Review: Solving cold war mysteries beneath Kensington Central Library with Dead Quiet

By Emma Lindsay
February 10 2020, 15.05

Immersive theatre is always a gamble. Even for those of us with a long history of stepping out of the stalls, there is never any way of knowing what to expect.

But unless you identify as ‘immersive averse’ and or you’ve ever shown a passing interest in the spy genre, you’re likely to be pulled in by the promise of Dead Quiet.

And you’d be right to.

Set in the subterranean warren of the beautiful library’s basements, Dead Quiet allows you to follow, observe and be part of a spy plot amid endless stacks of books and piles of old papers.

In fact, the behind-the-scenes staging of the library is itself enough of a draw for any latent academic geeks out there.

But for those looking for some sleuthing, the logistical intricacies of Dead Quiet allow you to flex your analytical prowess and see if you have what it takes to be the spy you always thought you could have been.

If you’re interested in dipping your toes in the immersive pool, Dead Quiet is a good gateway play.

Participants are expertly guided through the evening by the warm and approachable Magpie and Jack Daw.

They have the reassuringly familiar air of the enthusiastic drama teachers at school who knew everyone would have more fun if they just threw themselves into it.

The participation levels are safe and voluntary. There is no acting required, and speaking out and taking part happens in the small, manageable group of your team for the evening.

The actors playing the parts of the spies are uncomfortably believable as well as masters of self-control.

It is remarkable how they maintain complete composure throughout the interactive portions of the evening.

There is a, somewhat unnecessary, supernatural element to proceedings that is introduced as a mechanism to access the past.

It is never developed and throws a slight confusion over events if you pay too close attention to it.

However, aside from that, the planning and execution is flawless.

In fact, the staging of the complicated plot is so impressive that marvelling at the skill and planning required has the potential to distract you from the task at hand.

Whether or not you solve the mystery, or finish the evening fully comprehending all the different strands of the story, it is exciting to run around the depths of the beautiful library and lose yourself in the world of 1960s espionage.

It serves as a wonderful break from the politics of today.

The only criticism of the evening is that the end feels rushed.

Ideally, a bit more time would be provided to put all the clues together and arrive at a conclusion.

You’re left with the feeling that you almost had it, that with only a few minutes more, you would have put it all together and cracked it.

But perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps they allow you just close enough to keep those spy dreams alive.

For more information about future performances go to: http://www.immer-city.com/wp/

Related Articles