10 October 2023
Crypt, Bethnal Green
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
It’s spooky season, and of course I can’t resist an immersive event. Currently running at the Crypt at St. Peter’s Church in Bethnal Green, an immersive production of Frankenstein by Midnight Circle Productions.
The crypt, accessed by a side door to the church, is a damp, cramped space with low ceilings, perfect for a free roaming theatre production. Unfortunately it’s not accessible as there is a set of very old stone stairs leading down into the crypt.
For this production, the space has been transformed into a Victorian tavern, with several rooms branching off of it, most of which are open for patrons to roam before the show starts. A study with letters strewn about, a reception room set up for a celebration, dark spaces and corners that really set the mood.
Actors interact with patrons, playing bar patrons approaching guests with various hustles and quips. Showtime hits suddenly, with the barkeep starting a song that quickly becomes a rousing chorus throughout the room, when a new character bursts onto the scene, looking for a crew to join his expedition to the arctic. He only finds one volunteer, Victor Frankenstein, but when he asks him for his motivations, Frankenstein begins to tell him the story of how he lost everything.
We are brought back to Victor returning from his studies in Ingolstadt, eager to continue his experiments and lovingly welcomed by his family. But when his mother does shortly after, terrible events unfold.
Exploring loss and grief, responsibility and shame, the show marries incredible physical theatre with poetic drama. This production was so much fun to watch and participate in. Guests are given options to choose which character to follow, several scenes unfolding simultaneously, enriching the spooky atmosphere in the darkened crypt. The scenes are crafter well, giving enough space to watch without getting in the way.
The story is dark, emotional, and beautifully created. A little gem of immersive theatre in the Halloween season. It’s only running until Saturday, so grab yourself a ticket quickly!