Tag Archives: Christopher Styles

For King & Country – 4 Stars


For King & Country

COLAB Factory

Reviewed – 26th April 2018


“a truly immersive show – the role the public plays means that no two performances are ever going to be the same”


A soldier in a second world war uniform is the only indication that something unusual is going on behind an unsuspecting doorway in South East London. He welcomes you into an intimate flag filled bar transporting you instantly back to the 1940s. Cast members circulate in period costume whilst Douglas Remington-Hobbs introduces himself and gives you a brief back story as to your purpose for the evening.

It’s December 1940, but not as we know it, Lord Halifax is Prime Minister, Edward VIII is on the throne, Nazi troops have landed in Britain and are rapidly advancing through the South East of England. Britain is in crisis and an emergency session has recalled both houses to Parliament. A small number of backbench MPs and their families are whisked away to a secret London location. As a member of the audience you assume the identity of one of these designated survivors. Almost immediately disaster strikes in London and soon you are electing a new Prime Minister and cabinet to take the lead and take control of the situation.

Peter Dewhurst is excellent in his role of Douglas Remington-Hobbs. He controls proceedings and is responsible for steering the audience through the tough decisions they have to make. He is quick witted and his ability to draw out suggestions and shoot down the crazy responses is brilliant. This is a truly immersive show – the role the public plays means that no two performances are ever going to be the same. The actors are talented and experts in improvisation. They feed trickles of information and direct you towards a solution – sometimes facing the difficulty of dealing with a particularly headstrong and passionate individual. The evening progresses with a mixture of healthy debates in a makeshift parliament interspaced with the audience being sent off to carry out a number of different tasks.

Notable performances also came from Christopher Styles and Edward Andrews playing Major Timothy Smythe and Squadron Leader James Muir. The set (Owen Kingston and Christopher Styles) is fantastic with the attention to detail adding to the atmosphere. The space is used to maximum effect and easily negotiated as you move through the different scenes. Whilst those with “elected” roles are given specific direction “unelected” audience members are left to wander freely as each scenario unfolds. Sometimes this allowed some to become a little bit lost with what was going on. I felt that it would have had a better flow if the “unelected” had been split into groups and given specific tasks.

Overall For King and Country is a clever, fun evening out – original and extremely engaging. A knowledge of historic events and participation is not essential but would add to your enjoyment enormously. Don’t worry if you are not “elected” to a lead role there are still plenty of opportunities for immersion.


Reviewed by Angela East

Photography by Owen Kingston


For King & Country

COLAB Factory until 10th June


Previously at this venue
Hidden Figures: WW2 | ★★★★★ | March 2018


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Hidden Figures: WW2 – 5 Stars


Hidden Figures: WW2

COLAB Factory

Reviewed – 8th March 2018


“It’s not quite an escape room, nor would I describe it as theatre … “


Hidden Figures is described as an immersive theatrical event, where you are assigned a historical figure of the Second World War, and work with a group of people to get through ‘recruitment training’. After milling around the general area of the venue, looking particularly dodgy, I finally worked out to ring on the doorbell, and was let into the space, after a quick interrogation from Paul King, aka Hardy Aimes, which left me suitably terrified. I entered into a very well decorated ‘mess hall’, a great secret bar. The themed cocktails, with historical backgrounds were a nice touch, as were the Easter eggs hidden around the space for the more historically inclined audience members.

Historically minded or not, Hidden Figures aimed to enlighten people, rather than shame them, in what they do or do not know. This was done very successfully. As someone who spent their childhood in museums, I was both educated and entertained by this collection of unsung heroes of the Second World War. The tasks provided by the cast were challenging enough that they were entertaining, without being so hard you felt like you wanted to give up – a healthy balance. The performances from the cast, including the original M, played by Angus Woodward, and a real life Alan Turing, brought to life by Christopher Styles, pulled the audience in enough to be invested into the outcome of their ‘training’. Especially with some more little nods for the more historically inclined members of your party. I personally took great pleasure, in the array of medical puns provided by Lillian West, and played by Amelia Stephenson, which began the night with a cheery mood. I don’t want to say much more about the show, as to not spoil it for any future patrons of the performance.

Paul King, producer, and Zoe Flint, who directed, did a fantastic job of engaging the audience whilst educating them. As an audience member, there is no way to be passive in the evening. I would probably describe Paul King as a curator, rather than a producer: Firstly, that is the impression I got from him; secondly, because at the end of the evening, it wasn’t about the actors, the performance or even how the audience participated, it was about the characters the audience and the actors inhibited. It was about the hidden figures.

It’s not quite an escape room, nor would I describe it as theatre. The best way to describe it is as an interactive museum with alcohol (and puns). It’s a fantastic, enjoyable and educating evening, as long as you are prepared to throw yourself into your ‘training’.

Reviewed by Charlotte Hurford

Photography by Owen Kingston



Hidden Figures: WW2

COLAB Factory until 1st April



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