New Series

Caves and Twins: Crash of the Elysium

I genuinely felt that I had been on something rather magical – and how often can you say that?

Crash of the Elysium represents a mash-up of Doctor Who and interactive theatre legends Punch Drunk. It’s genuinely hard to see what can possibly go wrong, but how will it fare in the Caves and Twins wringer?

NB. No spoilers as such follow, but you might want to avoid this anyway if you’re going.


The experience – As an overall experience I found Crash of the Elysium hard to fault, in that it’s as close to being in Doctor Who – in reality or fantasy – as you’re likely to get. Immersive, imaginative and thrilling.

Cast – The cast, such as they were, were all strong, energetic and believable – managing to juggle the requirements of the narative and timing while preserving the fourth wall.

Venue and set – Veering between several different setting and times and conveying it well – despite ostensibly being a tent in a car-park, rather like The Greatest SHow in the Galaxy

Intro – a lovely lead-in that reflects Who’s ordinary/extraordinary juxtaposition of settings

Monster – Definitely the right monster to choose in this medium – the key moment of the production was an absolutely bravura piece of theatre and a huge thrill.

crash of the elysium


What there was to Crash of the Elysium was generally good and frequently excellent, but some of the lead-in sections felt rather disposable, a bit Crystal Maze and, while possibly good for kids, a bit of a waste of valuable minutes.

Cost – Which rather leads into cost. This was a unique theatre experience and can’t be cheap to stage, but £25 per head for 60 minutes is pretty steep and families may baulk at the cost. Still not as outrageous as the absurd costs for the (rubbish) stage show we went to last year though.

Conclusion – The staggered conclusions were rather New Series-esque and didn’t seem particularly well done to me – in relation to everything else anyway.

The end – OK, I didn’t want it to end, but I definitely didn’t want it to end in a portakabin.

Overall a very positive experience that Punchdrunk pulled off well; the adult audience clearly buying into proceedings as much as anyone. Tom MacRae’s story was thin but a good set-up (why create a new one when there’s a perfectly good set-up in available?) and the staging of it all was superb.

A few more shocks and scares might have meant that audiences were simply waiting for the next fright, but I felt the set-up promised more in that way than it actually delivered.

Stumbling out into the light at the end I genuinely felt that the rest of Alpha Team and I had been on something rather magical – and how often can you say that?

• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?

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