Doctor Who – Time Fracture
Reviewed – 16th June 2021
“If this site, lacks the in-your-face flash of Disneyworld, it more than makes up for it in the energy and commitment of its large and diverse cast”
Dedicated Whovians are in for a treat. The BBC has found a site, allegedly hidden around 1942 but only recently rediscovered, that offers an exciting adventure travelling through time and space with at least some of your favourite characters from the iconic television show. I say “at least some” because this elaborately staged production not only leads the audience through a series of well designed sets, but divides them into small groups, and smaller sets, for exclusive mini adventures. The audience is reunited twice — for a much appreciated break during the middle of the show (complete with your drink of choice and live music) — and at the end of the show for the apocalyptic breakdown and grand finale. If this site, cleverly concealed in a quiet mews just down the road from Bond Street tube, lacks the in-your-face flash of Disneyworld, it more than makes up for it in the energy and commitment of its large and diverse cast. Both “alien” and “human.”
I’d like to tell you more, but the Doctor threatened me (very nicely, of course) with a total mindwipe if I said anything about the plot. “The first rule of Time Fracture is….” — so I hope, prospective intrepid time traveller, that you’ll forgive me.
I can say that for me (and my companion) this was a great way to spend an evening in London. Social distancing seems less noticeable when the audience is constantly on the move and involved in the action. There was plenty of recognizable timey-wimey stuff going on for Doctor Who fans, and if it was a bit shouty-wouty — well, there was a lot going on all over the place, and with different groups of people. The actors managed this remarkably well, considering that they were costumed from head to foot (often unrecognizably so) in small spaces on the hottest and most humid evening in London this year. They also had to be very deft with the improvised conversations, and to deal with audience members who tried to change the plot on them, or claimed to be at least one thousand years old. In some ways Doctor Who: Time Fracture will feel a bit like the haunted house exhibits for Hallow’een. In this show, however, the sets and costumes are way more cool, and yes, scarier in at least one instance. No, I’m not going to tell you. Spoilers!
Doctor Who: Time Fracture would be a good choice of event for a blind date or even a first date. You won’t be able to talk to each other with all the noise and excitement going on, but by the end of the evening, you will know if your prospective is Time Lord material — or just a mere mortal destined to be jettisoned straight back into the universe’s dating pool.
Reviewed by Dominica Plummer
Photography by Mark Senior
Doctor Who – Time Fracture
Unit HQ until April 2022
Reviewed this year by Dominica:
FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)
Reviewed – 6th March 2019
“All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding”
With International Women’s Day just around the corner, the question remains: how do we deal with the problems facing women today? How do we tackle everyday sexism, unspoken fears and societal pressures? Wonderbox have the answer – to discuss them frankly and honestly whilst also finding the funny side. And that’s exactly what every piece in their show Feminist Fable Series does.
The first piece, StilettNO!, tackles workplace double standards. Jac (Carla Garratt) is an office temp whose boss, Jack (Jack Westgate), tells her that female employees are required to wear heels. For some reason, Jac objects. ‘Why?’ Jack wonders. Luckily, the narrator (Danica Corns) is on hand to guide the bewildered Jack through this difficult situation. Corns’ gently acerbic narration is the highlight of this play, which is well-written if a little abrupt in its ending.
The Night is without question the funniest of the three. Jessica (Corns), Gemma (Garratt), and Liz (Alice Merivale) need to get home after a house party. Walk? No way. Night bus? Not after last time. Taxi? Didn’t know you were up for getting kidnapped. As the girls figure out what to do, their conversation moves beyond the problem with men and onto their problems with each other. The three actors have great chemistry; they are a very recognisable group of friends in a sadly relatable situation. Merivale deserves special mention for her fantastic performance as ‘sexless punchbag for Ofsted’ Liz, a primary school teacher who just wants to let go.
Sixth formers Stacey (Corns) and Harri (Garratt) are the focus of Category: Teen. Stacey has a boyfriend, Luke (Westgate), whose obsession with porn means he’s always up for sex. Which is great… except it’s only him that enjoys it. Harri wants a girlfriend, but is too shy to approach her crush. She could try and get sexual fulfilment through lesbian porn. Which would be great… except it seems that it isn’t actually for lesbians. The two friends must navigate these problems together – but how? This is by far the most complex and intriguing piece from FFS! Not only does it show pornography’s effects on young women, it also examines its impact on male behaviour and self-esteem. The sensitive acting of the ensemble is particularly striking. They carefully balance the light and serious moments, leading to a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.
All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding by Claire Rammelkemp, with Holly Bond as co-writer for The Night. The ensemble bring their words to life brilliantly, making the debates feel real and relevant. As a production it is a little clunky: set changes take quite a long time, and the use of large tables and chairs seems a little impractical. This does pay off for The Night, however, which set in a bathroom full of little details and surprises.
FFS! is the perfect response to female frustration: speak up, share your stories and, most importantly, find the humour in everything. Claire Rammelkemp was right. Feminists are hilarious.
Reviewed by Harriet Corke
Photography by Bethany Blake
FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)
The Space until 9th March
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: