Reviewed by Joanna Woodburn
It was with great excitement and some degree of trepidation that we arrived at The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience at 56 Leadenhall Street, London. Immersive theatre is the popular new kid on the block, no seat tickets – instead a unique multi-sensory moving experience which takes you through a series of rooms, each different, as you become totally immersed and a part of the unfolding story.
A brilliant, engaging concept – cutting-edge technology, virtual reality coupled with the incredible concept album The War of the Worlds – a winning combination!
The award winning DotDotDot team, in collaboration with composer Jeff Wayne, who released the musical adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel The War of the Worlds in 1978 have created a masterpiece.
Avid fans of the 1978 concept album like myself and younger audiences in search of a thrill will be hard pressed to find a better experience in London. The two disc album remains a timeless bestseller. In The War of the Worlds, the vulnerability of earth is exposed with the conflict between unsuspecting mankind and the Martians.
The music and the story have never felt dated. It is a message about technology being a force for good, but also danger, perhaps more relevant now than in the 1970s! The powerful narration, with a backdrop of rock, string orchestra and stream punk is sure to exhilarate and fire the imagination of audiences of any age. With many highly successful concerts, theatre productions, video games and a recent television production it is a winning formula!
The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience takes place in the perfect setting of the chambers of the Old London Metal Exchange, a most impressive building, just a few minutes walk from Aldgate Station. With a warm welcome in the steampunk bar, overlooked by a huge smoke blasting Martian machine, audiences will go onto explore 22,000 square feet of holograms, immersive theatre and virtual reality.
We were taken in a small, intimate group through the many different rooms for a unique and multi-sensory appealing experience. Encouraged to break the ice with each other, which was all part of the unique fun, we entered the dark world of alien invasion. Encountering authentic, convincing costumed actors along the way, playing agitated characters, it was impossible not to be pulled into and become part of the story. With emotions charged, we were led through a London under attack as we attempted to make an escape.
The experience uses virtual reality (VR) headsets to effectively give audiences a simulated view of the world in 360 degrees. This was my first time with VR and I can honestly say, it was like no other experience I have had in my life!
This is an intense and most memorable ninety minutes of heightened and truly exhilarating sensations. The full range of emotions experienced is extraordinary. As the suspense builds and surprises abound, there were some spine-tingling moments amid palpable feelings of panic and fright! The powerful score of Wayne’s music is the perfect backdrop and adds to the intense atmosphere as it mirrors the light and shade of the story perfectly.
There was also the well thought out opportunity for drinks and a rest stop in the amazing Red Weed bar, a most welcome relief after the exertion of the last hour!
This unforgettable and super charged experience is highly recommended for families with children over the age of 12 or for groups of friends or colleagues seeking a thrilling shared experience.
Looking for a unique Christmas gift? Give the gift of both thrill and theatre this Christmas, an experience guaranteed to appeal to all generations!
I highly recommend you to dive into this world of multi-sensory realistic action and adventure. Just one question remains, will you rise up to the challenge of the Martian invasion and live to tell the tale?
Tickets cost from £44.50 to £74.50 per person.
For more information or to make a booking, visit www.dotdot.london.
The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience, 56 Leadenhall St, London EC3A 2BJ