Monday 13 June 2022

The Gunpowder Plot, Tower Hill Vaults, London - Review

The Gunpowder Plot | Tower Hill Vaults, London | Review

The Gunpowder Plot is the latest immersive experience from Layered Reality, the award-winning producers of the Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience which I went to (and loved) in 2019.

The experience integrates immersive theatre and virtual reality. Guests can expect to join live actors on an adventure back in time to 1605 as you travel across London and participate in the Gunpowder Plot itself. Multi-sensory special effects, three interludes on virtual reality, and a labyrinthine set combine to deliver a fun, educational and immersive experience.

We had a lot of fun at The Gunpowder Plot. I'll tell you all about what worked and what didn't.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

The Gunpowder Plot

I had no idea what the Gunpowder Plot was actually about (note: I didn't go to school in the UK). I knew Guy Fawkes wanted to blow up parliament but I thought he was simply an anarchist. I didn't know it was about Catholic rebellion in the face of James I's brutal repression of the Catholic faith and that it's all linked to the time from Henry VIII.

I learned about all of this on The Gunpowder Plot which was fascinating to me because I already make a habit of traipsing around England and photographing the ruins of dissolved monasteries. I loved the historical aspect of The Gunpowder Plot and am thirsty to learn more about that period in history.

The Gunpowder Plot | Tower Hill Vaults, London | Review

The Immersive Experience

The immersive theatre aspect of the event was superb. I now know first hand what it feels like to breathlessly press your back against a wall to avoid detection from pursuers. The actors were all incredibly talented and each and every one of them drew us into the story, asked us questions and didn't call us out when we lied to them.

Special mention goes to Jess Darnell as the priest, Leda Douglas as Lady Cecil, Stanley Eldridge as Thomas and the wonderful Harriet Sharmini Smithers as Anne. We got to collaborate as a team, make a pretty significant decision and I'm glad to say that I was on the side of the majority.

The Gunpowder Plot | Tower Hill Vaults, London | Review

The Virtual Reality

The only part of the experience that a bit hit and miss was the Virtual Reality. On the whole, it was a bit glitchy and blurry (and I say this as an experienced VR user who knows the usual tricks to stabilise the image). A lot has been made of the fact that Tom Felton is part of the digital cast but the quality of the VR was such that I wouldn't have recognised Tom in his role as Guy Fawkes if I didn't know it was him. The graphics were not as good as in Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience, and I expected more from Layered Reality.

The Gunpowder Plot | Tower Hill Vaults, London | Review


We really enjoyed The Gunpowder Plot but were disappointed by the VR interludes. I hope that they will work to improve this aspect of an otherwise excellent experience, because the actors, set and other visual displays were brilliant.

Tickets for The Gunpowder Plot are on sale now at


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