We turned up to a parole hearing at London Transport Museum over the weekend. After receiving new identities, we were marched through the museum, our disciplinarian controller barking orders all the way.
Thus begins Project X, a bold and somewhat brave new immersive theatre adventure from the museum and Tradesecrets interactive theatre company. Naturally, we can’t reveal much about the plot other than that it’s a time-travelling whodunit. You’ll find yourself dashing around Covent Garden, solving clues, negotiating with agents, meeting unusual characters and playing with gadgetry. Be prepared to get stuck in. You might be part of a large group, but there is no safety in numbers here. You will be drawn directly into the action.
The acting is superb throughout, with characters adapting to unexpected occurrences and crazy questions from the audience with impressive ease. The plot doesn’t quite hang together so easily. Because events can unfold in many different ways, proceedings can feel a little anarchic. The confusion, however, can bring out the best in the audience, some of whom played their parts as convincingly as the scripted actors.
Interactive theatre is now a familiar genre, most often performed in large warehouse spaces or closed off venues. Taking the action out onto the streets and through the public areas of the museum is a rarer treat, and watching the bewildered reactions of passers-by is as much part of the entertainment as the exposition itself. As a final encore, try one of the Project X cocktails in the museum’s cafe, which comes with its own smoke and mirrors.