Home » London Theatre Reviews » The Time Capsule – A Pick Your Own Adventure Play | Review

The Time Capsule – A Pick Your Own Adventure Play | Review

The Time Capsule - A Pick Your Own Adventure PlaySuspension of disbelief is usually required before entering a theatre, but even more so than usual in The Time Capsule – A Pick Your Own Adventure Play. Consider a situation where, in the modern world, a group of five friends are in a car and, having run out of fuel, it grinds to a halt. Surely at least one of the five would open up Google Maps on their smartphone (other online mapping services are available) to see if there is a petrol station within a reasonable distance or order a minicab through an app or a telephone call. Or ring a friend to see if they could pick them up.

Nope. While Tori (Lauren Anthony) stays put in the driver’s seat, two of the others, Ellie (Kirsty Langley) and Leah (Sarah Rickman) get out and start walking in what they believe to be the general direction of a petrol station. It is bizarre that none of them would use near-ubiquitous mobile telephony to try to resolve their problem. But breaking up the group is nonetheless a (not very convincing) narrative device to get Tim (Raymond Hemson) and Charlie (Wesley Magee) talking to one another, about one another, without the distraction of the others and their topics of conversation. A little context: the group are meeting as a whole for the first time since their school days, at least a decade ago, so there is a lot of catching up to do. Though, again, one wonders if they had ever thought of keeping in touch via social media, email, Skype – and so on.

It is not for the audience to determine such specifics. A more appropriate word than ‘adventure’ for the plot is ‘journey’, though the audience picked it, so perhaps it might have been a tad more adventurous if we had chosen differently. The majority vote counts every time the audience is called on to select one of two possible options. The vote can be split as closely as 52 to 48 percent (ahem) but there is no opportunity to go back and reconsider a second time (double ahem). Yay or nay? Stay put or run and hide? Fight or, well, not fight? Kiss or don’t kiss?
Guiding the audience through is a part-narrator, part-chairperson (George Kemp). Such are the limitations of staging a production with so many different possibilities that not everything is fully dramatized, but rather merely explained. The choices the audience must make keeps meant it was difficult not to maintain a healthy interest in proceedings as a result. The basis for a show like this appears to be the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book series, in which there could be as many as forty possible endings. There is even a DVD interactive motion picture, called Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman, in which viewers make choices using their remote control.

As far as this show goes, one issue for me was not so much about the concept of the ‘loaded question’, but of being asked a question without necessarily having all the background information to hand or being given sufficient time to think through what the possible implications might be. I wonder, for instance, what choices would be made if we were, occasionally, given the opportunity to confer with fellow audience members – I suspect people may be persuaded to think differently.

It took a little while to get going, and as for how the performance I attended ended, I couldn’t possibly say. There were moments of humour – comic relief, if you will – amongst the awkwardness of broken friendships finding their feet once again. With twists and turns in more ways than one, this is an unorthodox but admirable production.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

The important decisions will be made by you. The consequences, good or bad, will come down to what you decide. Choose wisely.
5 estranged friends, with nothing in common but each other, walk into a pub thinking it was just another Saturday. Before the day is over, they have bared their souls, broken the rules of space and time and touched each other in ways they wouldn’t have dreamt possible.

In this pioneering ‘Pick Your Own Adventure’ play, your choices will affect what happens to each character in their journey to save a life. Will they fall in love? Will they open old wounds and come to blows? Will they reveal their darkest secrets?

It’s all down to you.

The Time Capsule – A Pick Your Own Adventure Play is the 2nd production from devising ensemble ‘The Juice Factory’. Inspired by the coming of age movies of the 80’s and 90’s and designed in the style of classic adventure books, this is a show where every night is a premiere, and every story unique.

Creative Team:
Kirsty Langley
Sarah Rickman
PJ Stanley

Lauren Anthony
Raymond Hemson
George Kemp
Kirsty Langley
Wesley Magee
Sarah Rickman

Twitter: @timecapsule_the



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