Once shrouded in mystery, it's now no secret that PunchDrunk's vast, four-storey Temple Studios - an outpost of a Los Angeles studio whose facades are crumbling as fast as the dreams of its desperate inhabitants - is a former Royal Mail sorting office near Paddington Station.
For the uninitiated, ‘immersive theatre’ of the likes of PunchDrunk (who in this production have collaborated with the National Theatre) leaves you to your own devices. As you enter, you’re given a mask and left to wander a vast space for up to three hours. Here you can follow characters at will, or stick to the same location to see a story unfold in front of you, or have a drink at the bar – every visit is guaranteed to be different.
The piece is loosely based on Georg Büchner’s fractured, unfinished tragedy Woyzeck, but take this with a pinch of salt as the finished performance bears little straightforward resemblance to this early piece. Instead, jump in, lose your inhibitions and see where the night takes you. With a cast of 37 (double if you include the silent stage managers dotted around the venue), this is epic theatre, but even with an audience of 600 per night the whole thing feels completely intimate and organic.
With a longer run planned (it was originally intended to end as early as 29 September 2013), there’s no excuse to catch what has turned into one of the most unmissable productions of recent years, with nearly 200,000 tickets sold in its run so far.
|What||Punchdrunk: The Drowned Man, Temple Studios|
31 London Street, W2 1DJ | MAP
|Nearest tube||Paddington (underground)|
20 Jun 13 – 06 Jul 14, 9:00 PM – 11:30 PM
|Price||£25 - 55|
|Website||Click here to book via Temple Studios|