Review: Spy City

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Adam Lannon and Robert Thompson. Photo credit lmcdphotography

Style: Intense Spy Game
Where: 55 Southwark Street
When: Currently booking until end August.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Not suitable for those with mobility issues.

Spy City is a huge and sprawling, ambitious and highly engaging action adventure in which the audience are as much the stars as the (very impressive) cast.

Colab Theatre has become a byword for quality in immersive theatre. The thought, care and attention they put into their shows has never left me less than wholly impressed. And Spy City is no exception.

The action is driven along from the start where you interact with your mobile phone (make sure your phone has a decent charge on it – this will be very helpful) and gain access to a secret world. But while the action predominantly takes place in two indoor venues, a large portion is outside, wandering around London Bridge, interacting with cast members and running around like you’re James Bond with mates.

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Catherine Blindell. Photo credit lmcdphotography

the main difference between Spy City and previous Colab productions I have enjoyed is that while the audience’s actions drive the plot, there are fewer choices to be made. This isn’t a criticism – it’s just a different type of immersion. This was more problem solving and throwing yourselves into a pre-ordained plot and given the area it was spaced over and the need to ensure that the production moves along in time it is totally understandable.

In the end though, the audience is forced to make a choice. One they debate and decide among themselves and one that asks a great deal of them. It’s a choice that makes us search for moral absolutes where there are none and a choice that I am still pondering the next day.

Spy City is great fun. Who doesn’t want to be a secret agent running around London trying to avoid detection by guards and counter-agents alike? Who doesn’t love a walkie talkie? Who doesn’t want to outfox an evil scientist trying to use your blood for a nefarious purpose? That is also makes you ponder deeper political questions afterwards? Well that’s the Colab bonus.

 

 

 

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