The Crash of The Elysium

The Crash of The Elysium
The Crash of The Elysium

Written by Tom MacRae

Produced by Punchdrunk Theatre Company

Following its successful run in Manchester last year, this interactive theatre piece has moved to Ipswich for a limited run as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Starting with a gentle exhibition into the history of Victorian steamer The Elysium, proceedings are soon interrupted by two soldiers who take participants inside a recently crashed spaceship, also named Elysium.

From there, MacRae and Punchdrunk have fashioned an engrossing timey wimey tale, that moves between the Victorian era and the present day. For monsters are aboard, and there is a mission from The Doctor to complete.

The sets are things of beauty, rich in detail that demands far longer in the ‘rooms’ than one is given before the action moves on. The cast, drawn here from Ipswich’s Wolesey Theatre, keep the story on track while involving different members of the audience in parts of the drama. As with all interactive theatre, the more you and your fellow participants (up to 20 per show) put in, the more you will get out.

To say much more would ruin the suspense and the enjoyment of the piece. The only slight disappointment was the lack of merchandise on sale at the end, but everyone does leave with a very special memento of their experience.

While this run finishes on Sunday, I would be surprised if Crash wasn’t staged somewhere else for the 50th anniversary next year. Recommended for fans of all ages, but wear light clothes – you will sweat.

2000AD – Prog 1791

2000AD - Prog 1791

Published by Rebellion

Next week’s Prog brings the 15 year saga of Nikolai Dante to a rousing close, as our hero ends his deadly game of Russian Roulette – but who will be the last man standing?

Meanwhile, Judge Dredd and his latest sidekick, the pneumatic Maitland, investigate a heist at a cabaret club with wider implications. And 1947 comes to a somewhat perfunctory close.

With five strips in this issue, including a new Future Shock, there’s plenty for all tastes, so dive in next Wednesday.

Doctor Who – The Lost Stories: Power Play

Doctor Who - The Lost Stories: Power Play
Written by Gary Hopkins

Published by Big Finish

This latest audio adaptation from the abandoned 23rd TV season of Doctor Who sees writer Gary Hopkins finally making good on his original pitch (then titled Meltdown) 26 years later.

And what a pitch that must have been. The return of Victoria Waterfield, companion to Patrick Trougton’s Second Doctor, sharing an adventure with the Sixth Doctor and Peri. A strong Green message on the perils of nuclear energy. A trip to pre-prehistoric Earth. And a pair of Lizard-like Galactic Cops.

A quarter of a century later, these concepts are somewhat tired, though Hopkin’s audio adaptation does its best to bring some mystery to the tale.

The story opens strongly with the Tardis being pursued by the galactic police, and brought to Earth in 1980s England. There, the Doctor and Peri meet a group of protestors outside energy magnate Dysart’s power station, the output of which seems too good to be true.

Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are clearly in the groove here, and are well served by most of the supporting players, especially ?Miles Jupp as Dysart’s duplicitous assistant Dominic.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is Victoria’s first meeting with the Sixth Doctor, which sees Deborah Watling weighed down by the pressures of continuity (her character never witnessing a regeneration) and failing to recognise Colin Baker’s incarnation. In fact, Watling seems to struggle to find her character among this unfamiliar mileu.

Ultimately this feels something of a museum piece, for completists only. Casual listeners might wish to wait for next month’s Lost Story with the Sontarans.