Review: ★★★★★ For King And Country, The Colab Factory

The ultimate immersive experience.

Some will view For King And Country as almost as an escape room, but in reality this is what immersive theatre is supposed to be. The audience having an immediate impact on the outcome of the show. In this war room performance, you have to act as cabinet in the 1940’s and try your best to save Great Britain from destruction. Some of you even get the chance to be prime minister and maybe even speak to the president of the United States!

You get welcomed to the bar, where you can buy a drink via this ‘fancy, new card reader’ thing that exchanges your money into military shillings. You then get showed down into the bunker with the other designated survivors. Half of us are MP’s, the rest plus ones. As we’re shown around the bunker, we get told that parliament has fallen and we are now cabinet and need to pick our leaders. This allows each audience member to actively participate as much as they wish, so don’t fret if you are not massively into audience interaction.

This fantastic piece is directed by Owen Kingston with Parabolic Theatre and the research behind it is incredible. The most impressive part is the historians that are part of the show; every time the audience makes a decision, the historians respond like they did in the war to make it as historically accurate as possible. The actors are so fast to come up with an answer, even when we decided to have an impromptu Vote of No Confidence. And their answers are witty and smart, even though every show is so different from the last. This makes ‘For King and Country’ one of the most believe-able pieces of theatre ever seen.

The audience commitment was extraordinary and with such a brilliant cast it is easy to forget that you are part of a performance and not actually winning the war for Britain. This goes for ‘non-theatre’ people as well, especially if you have an interest in war or politics. If you think you don’t know enough about the topic to actively argue it, they will make it very simple or you can simply just walk around and watch – there’s no pressure! Even though they are great at explaining the different scenarios, having watched ‘Darkest Hour’, ‘The Crown’ and other pieces from that time definitely helps the understanding.

Have you ever wondered if you should get into politics? Have you ever wanted to go back in time? Have you ever wanted to just complete emerge yourself into a world that is not ours? Do you love a good twist to the story? Then go see For King and Country. A rarity – a show that actually is as immersive as it claims to be. 

Yasmin Simsek

Emma Betty
Emma Betty

Emma Betty is 28 and a nurse in Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Emma has the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Soundtrack (On CD!) to blame for her love for Musical Theatre, which she found in her parents living room pretty much as soon as she was old enough to know what it was. She began combining her love for Theatre, the Internet and Writing while she was still at school, through various blogs and on social media. Having moved to London in 2013, she launched Upper Circle 4 years later. A couple of years on, she is delighted to have a small team and is so grateful to those helping Upper Circle to grow every day!

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