A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

1984 Immersive

1984 Immersive
08 December 2023
Hackney City Hall
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Would you think that an immersive version of 1984 was a good idea?

Well, I did, so I went to Hackney Town Hall for this brilliant project. Utilizing the gorgeous architecture and especially the Grade II listed Council Chambers, Oceania really comes to life with terrifying force.

Upon arrival, every attendant is handed a colour coded badge (for the different seating options) with a number and the emblem of the Ministry of Truth. We are told to display these badges at all times, and sent into a large side-room with a bar and live music, where agents of the Ministry roam the room to make sure us new recruits are not misbehaving.

The show starts with a rendition of Oceania’s national anthem before we are led upstairs to the council chambers where we will be taking our aptitude tests to join the Ministry. The whole set-up feels somewhat anxiety inducing. Once our tests are filled out, we are to be given an introduction to the work of the Ministry of Truth, which is where the main plot of the book is woven into the action.

While some of the most disturbing parts of the story are merely referenced and not fully shown, thankfully, it is an intense and breathtaking production sending shivers down your spine. Despite being over 80 years old, the story feels relevant and timely.

While the immersive elements are mostly confined to being part of a crowd that moves around with the action, rather than being a fully immersive experience with character interactions, the show itself is very well presented, tense and captivating. Definitely a show worth seeing!

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