Reviews are rolling in for The Gunpowder Plot at Tower Vaults – the latest immersive theatre experience to open in London.
The Times described it as ‘stunning virtual-reality’ and says it is ‘…an experience to ignite the imagination’. The Evening Standard says ‘…this show is pretty astonishing…’ and Time Out thinks the production is ‘streets ahead of London peers’.
Starring Harry Potter’s Tom Felton as Guy Fawkes in the virtual cast, over 50 digital actors and 22 live actors bring 1605 to life in a truly hybrid theatrical experience.
Travel back in time to 1605 for an adventure through Jacobean London with Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators as they plot to assassinate King James I. Using a combination of live actors and the latest digital technology, you don’t just witness history, you are part of it. When you are faced with a crucial decision, who will you trust?
Read a round-up of reviews for The Gunpowder Plot from the UK press including The Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard and more. Additional reviews will be added. Tickets for The Gunpowder Plot are now sale.
The Gunpowder Plot is booking until 4 September 2022 at Tower Vaults, London.
"A stunning virtual-reality experience"
"An experience to ignite the imagination"
"This is an immersive experience in which virtual reality and a team of actors are brought together in the vividly evocative setting of Tower Hill Vaults to lead you ducking and dashing, betraying and scheming, scampering and soaring through the London of four centuries ago."
"I admit, I’m a sucker for virtual reality. To abseil on a rope that swoops from the top of the White Tower out over the Thames, the wind whipping my face as I skid through historical cityscapes, seems quite frankly thrilling. I could feel my heart tense. And, at a moment of quietness when there was a glitch in my headset (I presume it was a technical problem that will be fixed), I heard one of the two teenagers (13 and 14 years old) accompanying me utter a half-bleat, half-gasp of mingled terror, astonishment and delight."
"This was the first of the three mesmerising VR moments, made to feel all the more real by physical sensations (the damp of a dungeon, the groan of the rack, a splash of water as you take to your lurching rowing boat) that this experience incorporated. Yet just as exhilarating — and even more so, according to the teenagers — was being drawn into a role-play by a team of 20 live actors."
"Make sure that you visit this with a party prepared to abandon all disbelief. Be prepared, also, to hear quite a lot of strong language."
"This VR/IRL show is pretty astonishing"
"This isn’t a museum, so to any reserved Brits shy of getting involved, look away now. The cast interact directly with you, asking you to decipher codes, duck to get past invisible guards and hide in cubby holes to avoid being spotted by priest hunters."
"The staging, though, is immaculate: the room of a Jacobean house, for example, looks disturbingly realistic, as do the clever sound effects that make you think that you’re one step away from being caught by Protestant zealots."
"The Gunpowder Plot has set a new gold standard"
"This lavish new immersive theatre attraction from the Tower of London is, in essence, a 100-minute theme-park ride"
"What marks the ‘The Gunpowder Plot’ out as special is its superior creative team, headed by writer Danny Robins (‘The Battersea Poltergeist’, ‘2:22 - A Ghost Story’) and director Hannah Price (of the King’s Head and activist company Theatre Uncut."
"The Gunpowder Plot’ is streets ahead of its London peers like ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Doctor Who: Time Fracture’ and ‘The War of the Worlds’. It engages with its source material with genuine intelligence and care – it’s not just a glorified cosplay sesh."
"A thrilling live adventure is marred by moments of bewildering VR in this immersive voyage back to 1605"
"In the belly of the vaults – a grid of tunnel-like corridors and boiler rooms – we meet prisoners such as William (Lucas O’Mahoney), who is barefoot, black-eyed and shackled by a terrifying hooded guard. William looks at us blinkingly before he is led away and confirms us as fellow Catholic dissenters. There is also our companion, Thomas (Cormac Elliott, very characterfully played), a cheeky caped spy who appears sporadically, calls us “bastards” and works for the crown. Something of a Jacobean Indiana Jones, he helps us navigate the perils of these tunnels and delivers us to his boss, Lady Cecil (Kalifa Taylor), who recruits us as spies to thwart Fawkes’ plot."
"There are three VR headset moments to augment our experience, the first of which did not work for everyone in my group. The last, which traces the mythology around Fawkes in the centuries following his execution, is especially disappointing – not in the graphics but in the rather vague points it seeks to make."
"Light but lively immersive theatre"
"Entertaining if fairly tame new immersive and digital tourist-attraction for London"
"If you’re used to the complex world-building of the likes of Punchdrunk and A Door in a Wall, or if you’re an escape-room fanatic, you’ll find this show tame by comparison. But, if you’re just dipping your toes into the immersive world, this is an easy entry point."
"A tourist-friendly immersive experience"