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You are hunted, really badly, in this sadly stumbling immersive show
The best thing to say about this immersive show? The first ten minutes are quite good.
‘Hunted’, from production crew Colab, invites you to arrive at Waterloo at a set time, then await an audio file. It explains that a shadowy company is attempting to decimate humanity with a virus then can flog the antidote for shedloads of cash. Unfortunately, your blood happens to contain said antidote, so you are now being hunted like Cecil the Lion. You’re given directions to a rendezvous, while your earphones tell you to look around you to see if you’re being followed. Pretty soon, you realise you are. It’s tense and exciting.
Until you reach your rendezvous point to find eight other people with earphones. The mystique is gone, as you recognise the shady figures following you as some dudes who bought a ticket from Designmynight.com. The next 20 minutes are spent pretending not to notice them as you all walk the same route and loiter in a square waiting for your contact, in awkward silence. Suspending your disbelief is not exactly easy.
As a piece of theatre, it’s even worse. The counter-surveillance techniques you’re told to employ are utterly unbelievable to anyone who’s played computer games or watched spy thrillers (at one point, you stroll off to your secret base being clearly followed by three known enemy agents a few feet away). To call the characters paper-thin is to be charitable: you develop no kind of understanding of or relationship with them, leaving choice-making baffling and cursory. Story-wise, there are no dilemmas, no twists or turns: no plot to speak of beyond the initial premise. It’s a shame, because Colab’s previous production ‘Crooks’ was phenomenal. Unfortunately, this just feels like an attempt to bolt a show onto some earphone-based shenanigans as an afterthought.