Home » London Theatre Reviews » THIS IS REALITY 2000 – Immersive Digital Experience | Review

THIS IS REALITY 2000 – Immersive Digital Experience | Review

This is Reality 2000 is an online immersive game that transports its players back to the first live-streamed house social experiment. A murder mystery box without a script, or an escape room with no locked door, whether the experience is a success depends entirely upon the players themselves.

This is Reality 2000A Canadian Big Brother series was underway in early 2000. Three weeks in, the producers took the decision that they would have to inform the housemates that the planet was being overrun by a pandemic. The reaction to this revelation was filmed, and remains an extraordinary piece of television. Now, a year later, having all become experts in Zoom, it’s possible to enter our own online reality TV show, while we’re all to a greater or lesser degree locked up at home.

This is Reality 2000 casts ticket-buyers as housemates. While it’s adjacent to online immersive theatre, it wouldn’t be right to call us ‘audience-members’. Instead, we’re doing most of the work, with full-on, active participation. We make the experience, and how well it works falls to us.

There’s no real risk of spoilers because the schema for the experience is pretty straightforward. We’re sent character packs ahead of time, so we can gather a costume, as well as a file with ‘Secret Objectives’, not to be looked at until we ‘enter the house’. These drip-feed us new things to do as the game progresses. After an initial orientation, we’re let loose, into a series of quick-fire ‘days’. There is no greater structure in terms of the setting, no activities to be completed, no tasks we are all asked to deliver. We each had our own individual objectives, but without anything shared to be derailed by our pursuit of these, it was rather a matter of the most forceful (or whoever had the loudest mic!) getting their way.

Everyone in our group did a brilliant job of role-playing our parts but overall it felt like an escape room without a door needing to be unlocked. The subtext of every escape room is the manifold mysteries of group dynamics. Here in This is Reality 2000, there’s nothing but that subtext. It also wasn’t clear what impact completing our own tasks would have, if any.

While for a viewer it might seem like a reality show is populated by people acting out inscrutable character sketches, presumably, they’re (on the whole) just showing who they really are. Fundamentally, they’re trying to win, for example by charming their fellow contestants and the audience, and where they fail it’s because their idea of what people might want from them departs from reality. There was a period of time when these shows were such a part of popular culture that we became aware that the performances which people gave on them were as much tactics as honest revelations of their souls. Perhaps this is where this show succeeds best: by casting us as similar performers, we’re forced to face up to the psychological games played by the housemates, ‘celebrities’ and popstar-wannabes.

3 Star Review

Review by Ben Ross

For a production so immersed in the variety of personalities people have, the creators might want to give a bit of thought to how the more introverted or less tech-multi-tasking-savvy could get the most out of the experience. We had a fun, frenetic time on the whole. It’s so self-constructed that your mileage may vary, but grab a group of loud, fun, dramatically-inclined pals, and dive in. There are worse ways to spend an evening with friends.

THIS IS REALITY 2000 lets you and your friends have the ultimate Zoom experience – wherever you are.
Play as one of 12 outrageous housemates, each with their own secret objectives, and enjoy games, votes, group
challenges and dramatic twists in your very own reality show set in the year 2000, celebrating the rise of reality TV.


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