Another day, another immersive show… I ‘experienced’ (seeing doesn’t seem quite the right word, especially since a good part of it was in absolute darkness) Shunt’s The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face. A couple of years ago Shunt’s The Architects was perhaps my first immersive experience and I didn’t much like it, though I think that if I saw it now, I’d appreciate it a lot more. At the time I expected more of a point to my theatre, I also wasn’t used to all the nudity that is remarkably prevalent in immersive performances.
I went to The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face, partly because I liked the sound of the venue, (the Jetty at Greenwich, rather excitingly the easiest way to get to it is by boat or by air) with its promise of pop up food and drink as well as post show live music, partly because tickets only cost £10. The performance itself is billed as taking 45 minutes, though I think it took us just over half an hour from start to finish, so the additions of food, drink and entertainment are very welcome if you want to make a night of it. I’d recommend dressing warmly (where has the summer gone?) even though blankets are provided and nabbing one of the hammocks.
On the whole I really enjoyed the experience, it’s perfect if you want to dip your toes into immersive theatre and see if you like it, as it’s over pretty quickly if you don’t. I did like it, so my main complaint is that I greedily would have liked it to be a bit grander, with more rooms to explore. The concept is in the style of a promenade performance, every ten minutes a group of about a dozen or so people enter a series of rooms, cleverly build within old shipping containers and are faced with different bizarre scenarios in each room. It’s creepy and funny and better if you just go with it, don’t try to make any sense of it and have fun. The audience interaction is not extensive and in fact my favourite room was one with only a disembodied voice in it. A final warning, the performers wear frankly terrifying masks.