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Crash Of The Elysium Reviewed: MIF 2011

Jonathan and Ralph Schofield adore another Punchdrunk success

Written by . Published on July 3rd 2011.

Crash Of The Elysium Reviewed: MIF 2011

Confidential's MIF rating: 18/20

Originality 4/5; Performances (acting etc) 4/5; Audience delight 5/5; Production 5/5

“It was the best thing I’ve done like that,” said the true judge, Ralph Schofield, aged 10. “I couldn’t believed that they’d chosen the scariest Doctor Who monster though. Remember how I’d said I really hope it wasn’t going to be them. It was amazing.”

Some Doctor Who monsters are enduring, some that you don’t expect to be frightening get to you. I hated the Cybermen, for most it was the Daleks. This generation of fans find horror in the - well that would be telling - but these new terrors are all over the crashed spaceship Elysium at MediaCityUK. And they work with the staging here to create an experience none of the kids who witness it will forget.

But then, Punchdrunk, the company behind the Crash of the Elysium, is adept at this. 

If you’ve got kids aged six to twelve, get a ticket, maybe borrow someone else’s six to twelve year old. Punchdrunk have delivered another superb MIF event. 

Two years ago at Manchester International Festival (MIF) it was something for the grown-ups with It Felt Like A Kiss (click here), a rampaging but thought-provoking examination of fifties and sixties America.

I had (and still have no idea) why disorientated guests were chased out of the building by a man with a chainsaw but it led to exclamations of shocked delight outside. The common comment was: “Have you ever seen anything like that before?”

This was echoed by all the kids on our Crash of Elysium visit. This is immersive and interactive theatre at its finest.

It starts with a viewing of a very static exhibition of the original Elysium steamship built on Manchester Ship Canal which foundered in 1888 – my son said, “This is a bit boring, isn't it?”. Suddenly an alarm rings, soldiers run in and the kids are whisked away.

Crash And Quays 002The party is named Alpha Group, protective clothing is dished out, instructions and tasks given, and before you know it the group is crouched next to the crashed hulk of the space ship Elysium. And we have a mission, to find something very important to the Doctor. The soldiers ask for specialist knowledge of Doctor Who and the kids respond with enthusiasm, giving the captain in command clues.

Crash And Quays 013
The lighting and the sound – especially the sound – plus the staging of the production is perfect for the children; a hyperactive fairground Haunted House featuring Doctor Who himself.

Some kids find it challenging, one or two on our show wept, but everybody helped them out and reassured them. At times it was almost like an outward bound team-building session. 

If you’ve got a kid aged six to twelve, get a ticket, maybe borrow someone else’s six to twelve year old. Punchdrunk have delivered another superb MIF event. It ticks all the boxes for what this festival should represent. Exciting. Clever. Effective. Memorable.

Ralph was scaling street furniture all over The Quays re-enacting moments from the show afterwards. Peel Group's fastidious security guards were running in from all directions asking him to calm down, clearly unaware that he'd just helped save the Universe.

Crash And Quays 028

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

The Crash of the Elysium is on until 17 July priced £17.50. There are children only shows and family shows were kids can be accompanied by adults. The production takes place in MediaCityUK, where there is ample parking and a Metrolink connection. Click here for further tickets, details or to book

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

David FoxJuly 3rd 2011.

I went with my 6, 8 and 10 year old. I felt like I was 12 again. Unfortunately my 6 year old wept with fear despite my hopeless Dad attempt at calming her "Its only pretend" She was having none of it - and we hadn't even reached the......! I had to remind myself I was indeed this poor childs father and not a selfish 12 year old and duck out early. Inside I was gutted - especially when the other two bounded out regailing stories of the..... and going back to the 1800's. Heartlily recommend! EDITORIAL COMMENT: Removed the reference to the monster so we didn't ruin it for others

tblzebraJuly 3rd 2011.

Not the ......, they are one of THE scariest Dr Who creations ever. I only have a five year old to borrow, so I'm gutted I can't go.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Removed the reference to the monster so we didn't ruin it for others

1 Response: Reply To This...
tblzebraJuly 4th 2011.

oops, sorry, I was following up David's post.

Robert MartinJuly 4th 2011.

Thanks for the spoiler! EDITORIAL COMMENT: taken the references off.

AnonymousJuly 4th 2011.

There are lots of adult only shows too (not sure if they're sold out); I'm going tomorrow and can't wait!

DeeRooJuly 8th 2011.

I went to the adult only showing. It was fantastic. I was so excited when I got a ticket (wrote all about it in my blog - http://www.manchestermeanders.wordpress.com - Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers on there). I can't wait to see what Punchdrunk come up with next.

KateyJuly 12th 2011.

I'm going to an adult only performance later this week. Am genuinely nervous! I know who the baddies are and I had a couple of nightmares after I watched them on Dr Who, so there's probably no hope for wimpy old me. Sounds ace though!

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