Style: Immersive, futuristic scavenger hunt
Where: The Crypt, Bethnal Green
Rating: 4/5 stars
Threshold is another thrilling adventure from Parabolic Theatre. With the ability to play online or in person, you solve a series of mysteries and clues as well as being faced with moral choices where there are no rights or wrongs – just different endings.
The show revolves around the hunt for an individual who has passed through a threshold between worlds and realities. There’s a tinge of His Dark Materials to the concept – not least the fact that we learn that this passing through is causing structural damage and collapse that threatens all realities.
Players in real life play in socially distanced bubbles of up to six people and each team is given a mission to fulfil. I have to admit that quite a few of my team got a little overexcited at the idea of finally being out and were a little, shall we say, over-refreshed (personally, and unusually, this was not me!). That made getting them to concentrate on the tasks at hand harder and their gung ho attitude to getting the mission achieved led to a fair bit of line overstepping (which was handled absolutely admirably by the cast and team). Basically, don’t give a bunch of drunk girls from Hackney the idea they should be intimidating people, because they know how to do it better than you can imagine.
We failed fairly spectacularly at our mission. But that didn’t dampen our enjoyment of either the show or the running around trying to achieve it. trying to drag my drunken sister off of various Deliveroo drivers she had decided to interrogate was more complex, but that was down to us – not the show!
The only thing that fell down slightly for me was the interaction with the technology. I didn’t get a WhatsApp until we were almost all of the way through and we also failed to properly connect to the Zoom to get (much needed) help from the online team. It’s not a huge deal and eminently fixable – like the popups that occasionally appeared on screen – but did take you a little out of the action.
But just as Parabolic have mastered online immersive over the pandemic and real life before that, they will clearly master this enjoyable and intriguing hybrid format.
I came away from Threshold feeling that I had only scratched the surface of what the story was and how it could all unfold. Like all the best of Parabolic’s output, it has made me want to go back and experience it again – seeing how different it is in different iterations, with different decisions made. I am hoping, if I promise to only bring sober people, they will let me.