Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds: 25 Rooms Of Steampunk VR Wizardry
The location's the first surprise, The Old Metal Exchange, smack in the centre of Bank and Aldgate East.
Most immersive experiences of this scale — and she's a big one, 22,000 square feet and 25 experience rooms — shore up in big ex-warehouse spaces further out of town, not listed buildings in the middle of the City.
Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, though, the immersive production from dotdotdot, isn't content with its prime zone 1 real estate. 'Using Martian technology left behind from the Great Invasion', the story arc bounces you between Woking and Westminster, between calm in-land stretches of the Thames, and the open sea.
The Layered RealityTM used in the production combines the high-tech — VR, holograms projecting across layers of translucent curtains, creating a brilliant depth-of-field effect — and more lo-fi — sleight-of-hand, some pyrotechnics, soldiers bursting through doors to hustle you to safety.
It's not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach. Some of the VR experience is so thoroughly realistic they come with a little 'in the event of seasickness' briefing first; in other instances it's the small but disorienting lags and scene change jolts in the VR tech that could leave your head spinning. It gets physical at points, with stuff to be clambered through or slid down. It gets quite cold at points. Would be absolutely no fun at all on a hangover.
But it's actually the lower-tech elements that are often the most chilling: turning corners to stumble across soldiers battling through injuries, the floor sticky with theatrical blood, and the gruesome effort of pulling your feet off the floor as you walk across to them; sudden screams in the night; sudden powercuts.
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This is way more curated than some of the Punchdrunk or Secret Cinema-style immersive productions out there. dotdotdot take you through a linear narrative on an epic scale — one that crams a lot of steampunky exuberance and some very flashy VR into your two-hour ticket.
Tickets for Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds start at £39.50 for the two hour immersive show. Book here.
Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, 56 Leadenhall Street, EC3A 2BJ.
Last Updated 14 February 2020