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  • Writer's pictureImmersive Rumours

Review: Phantom Peak's Festival of Innovation (Spring 2024)

London's top immersive experience returns with another flawless season of mysteries and innovation in Canada Water. We head over the ridge to review Phantom Peak's Festival of Innovation.


Immersive Rumours received complimentary tickets to this show and as such, are disclosing this information before our review. They have had no input in the below and all thoughts are our own.


For London-based immersive theatre fans, it's often easy to take for granted just how good we have it. With an ever-growing list of immersive experiences on our doorstep, there's no better place in the world to experience the most innovative and groundbreaking immersive work. Nothing exemplifies this fact more than Phantom Peak - a mainstay of London's immersive scene since it first opened in 2022, that continues to be the most original and singular immersive experience in town.


Wide shot of Phantom Peak with Mayor Pocket addressing the crowd

Photo: Alistair Veryard


At this point, we're a broken record when it comes to Phantom Peak - since it first opened we've been screaming from the rooftops about how good it is with a string of five-star reviews. Their latest season - Festival of Innovation - continues to deliver everything guests have come to expect from Phantom Peak. With some of their strongest storylines yet and a host of new additions to the show's 30,000 sq foot site, it's an experience that continues to innovate and best itself, even after 18 months of constant updates.


This season sees JONACO, the powerful organisation that has its fingerprints all over nearly every element of the town, introduce the Festival of Innovation - a World's Fair-style showcase of the latest and greatest inventions from Phantom Peak's townsfolks and tourists.


Most of this season's new storylines involve these inventions in one way or another. For instance, the trail ’Nothing But The Truth’ revolves around ProstleBot - a robotic priest with boundless enthusiasm for spreading the gospel of the Cosmic Platypus, who has just found itself accused of murder - something you've asked to get to the bottom of by the towns resident priest, Pius.


Dr Winter speaking to tourists

Photo: Alistair Veryard


Elsewhere in Phantom Peak, there are storylines involving everything from pets that have escaped into other dimensions, sentient AI assistants, prehistoric creatures on the loose, creepy clowns, and a certain monster-based trading card game that's taken heavy influence from Pokemon. Often these storylines take inspiration from real-world pop culture. Previous season's trails have referenced everything from Scooby-Doo to Tomb Raider and Five Nights At Freddy's.


We're now fast approaching 100 unique trails having been on offer since Phantom Peak first opened in 2022. While they've varied massively in subject matter over the last 18 months, the common thread that has been present throughout is their unpredictable nature. Rarely will you ever be able to accurately predict where any of the trails will lead you, and their constant twists and turns can soon turn a storyline about something as pedestrian as I.T. Support into a battle between humankind and demonic spirits.


Tourists speaking to townsfolk outside the General Store

Photo: Alistair Veryard


By design, Phantom Peak lets you take things entirely at your own pace - there are no big set-piece moments you can miss by being in the wrong part of the venue at the wrong time (something that is often the case with free-roaming immersive experiences like Secret Cinema or Punchdrunk's large scale shows), and the storylines are only moved forward by your actions as you interact with Phantom Peak's many townsfolk. If you want to take a break for half an hour to have some food and drink, the trail you'll have been doing is ready for you to pick up again whenever you are.


For 2024, Phantom Peak's cocktail experience has been overhauled in the form of The Broken Chalise - a new actor-led experience at a set time during each performance. As part of the experience, guests need to complete a series of group tasks to the satisfaction of Leadbelly, the town's Health and Safety Officer, against the clock. With a mix of physical and mental tasks to complete, it's a fun activity for all group sizes, as well as those keen to dive a bit deeper into the ever-expanding lore of Phantom Peak.


Leadbelly checking their watch as part of The Broken Chalice cocktail experience

Photo: Alistair Veryard


Considering the cocktails at Phantom Peak will run you anywhere from £9.50 to £11 each, and with an exclusive cocktail menu available only to those who participate in the experience, it's good value if you want to indulge in one of them anyway. For the avid Phantom Peak card collectors, there's also an exclusive trail card for those who take part in The Broken Chalice on top of the 10 regular trail cards handed out through the main storylines.


Photo: Alistair Veryard


The show's overarching story, which continues to develop season on season, sees some new developments also. The long-rumoured return of Phantom Peak's former Mayor Furbish is inching ever closer as they work behind the scenes to gain influence and control of the town against JONACO, while Jonas' long-term plans for the town see one of the townsfolk soon venturing into space as part of a classified, top-secret Operation.


Cogwright speaking to tourists

Photo: Alistair Veryard


Phantom Peak's ability to continually deliver 10+ hours of new storylines every few months is nothing short of miraculous, and it's made all the more impressive by the fact that every season's trails somehow improve on the last. There isn't another immersive experience operating at the level that Phantom Peak is right now, and it's without a doubt the best experience on offer in a city that's already home to the best immersive work in the world.


★★★★★


Photos: Alistair Veryard

 

Phantom Peak's Festival of Innovation currently runs until 12th May 2024, though a closing date for this season has yet to be confirmed. You can book via phantompeak.com

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