Such stuff as dreams are made on is a brand new immersive adventure loosely based around Shakespeare’s The Tempest (with a twist of course) by amateur theatre company Sedos. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an immersive theatre production, it’s such a difficult genre to get right and so many companies fail.
When I first arrived I wasn’t 100% sure I was in the right place but upon entering Capstan House (basically just a regular office building) I was directed to the first floor where the magic takes place. I checked in my coat and bag then took a seat in the main room where I read the program I had been given upon entering. My confusion grew even more as it looked as though there was going to be an introduction to the show by a well-known Shakespearian historian before the show began… as I’d been given a press ticket for this show I wasn’t sure if this was perhaps a special event they were holding (the couple sat next to me seemed to be family members of one of the cast). After far too long I realised that the show had actually already started the moment I stepped through the door to take my seat! When you don’t even realise you’re being immersed the immersion is clearly pretty damn convincing.
After a short introduction we were given fairy lights in jars to differentiate cast and audience then finally let loose to roam around the sets and follow characters of our choosing. Now to be honest I should probably have at least read the cliff notes of The Tempest before going to watch the show (there is actual a short synopsis on the back of the program you are given at the start which definitely helps) as I am still none the wiser as to who several of the characters that I chose to follow actually were but this is a minor point as I know had I stuck with them long enough I would have figured it out.
I am absolutely terrible at making decisions and forever spotting someone who looks more interesting (some performances were better than others which is to be expected from any amateur production) to me than the person whom I am already invested in, switching to follow them only to miss out on something awesome by the character that I ditched! As the show progressed I became braver, ending up in a completely dark room with only a handful of other audience members and crawling through a tunnel as a way of escape.
Set design, even in traditional theatre is something that I always enjoy and I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the scale of the work that had been done for this show that has such a short run time. Attention to detail was immense and something else I particularly enjoyed was how some areas were cut off until later as the story progressed so there seemed to always be something new to explore.
It’s difficult not to compare other immersive shows to the fabulous Punchdrunk but I will say that this show is the closest I have come to feeling the same magic that The Drowned Man made me feel each time I entered its space and I am so grateful to have been able to see it during its short run. I really cannot recommend the show enough and I urge you to check it out if you have an interest in either Shakespeare or immersive theatre. Sedos is definitely a company I will be keeping an eye and ear out for in future.
Such Stuff runs at Capstan house until 23rd April 2016 and you can purchase tickets here.