The Gunpowder Plot - Immersive Experience
A stone's throw away from the infamous Tower of London is the brand new experience from Layered Reality. Building on the success of their previous work, The Gunpowder Plot utilises both live action, with actors and detailed sets, and expansive virtual reality worlds to enhance the audience’s adventure. Over the course of nearly two hours, groups must infiltrate the daring plan to ignite the Houses of Parliament and decide whether or not to support the infamous Guy Fawkes in his mission to change the face of England forever.
Danny Robins’s (2:22 - A Ghost Story) script deposits us in London, 1605 in the build-up to the gunpowder plot. Though ever so slightly cavalier with the historical truths, the story is without a doubt an enjoyable romp through a major turning point in British history. Robins ensures that audiences are active in the story, continually questioning which side to be on and challenging whether Fawkes is the hero or the villain throughout - something most bonfire night goers will rarely consider.
We are led from scene to scene by a talented ensemble of actors who skilfully ad-lib with the group whilst giving us the vital information we need to continue our adventure. With their help, we escape from the Tower, deliver the gunpowder and even hide away in priest holes when the guards come looking for us. Their performances are supported by impressive, gloomy sets packed with surprises and little details. The overall technical design is clever and sophisticated with lighting, sound and special effects working seamlessly to flesh out this experience further.
There are three bouts of virtual reality nestled in the tunnels, thankfully each of them far more than a gimmicky use of VR that many of us will have endured before. A personal favourite being our explosive ladened trip across the Thames with Guy Fawkes himself, portrayed digitally by Tom Felton. Whilst wearing the headsets we sit in boats whose movement mirrors that of the boats in the virtual world, making for a fantastic immersive experience that would not be possible otherwise. The VR builds on the work already done by the character actors and designers but then expands the exploit beyond the confines of the physical location, creating a completely cohesive experience.
The Gunpowder Plot is not a cheap evening of entertainment but with the intricate detail and explosive imagination at play, the price tag feels worthwhile. Both the creative and technical teams at Layered Reality have delivered a genuinely unique experience in the shadow of the Tower of London, full of surprises and jeopardy that will leave you questioning our age-old bonfire night traditions.
Photography - Mark Dawson
Currently Booking to March 2023 - Tickets