The following is a review of the experience I took part in last week. The experience was the immersive experience of Jeb Waynes War of the worlds. Details of the experience can be found here.
I was on the first group to try the accessible trip and see how it went. Usually, it is a group of 12 go through the experience together, but in my group, there were only three. Diane (another wheelchair user), my carer and myself. I would have liked to participate in a bigger group to make more of the live-action parts of the show. Especially near the beginning, when they wanted everyone to have a singalong. I can understand that they were trying the whole access situation, but I think it would have been better with more people.
Saying that though, I thought it was a definite must-see experience for any fans of Jeff Wayne’s show. The virtual reality added a whole level to the show, even though the story changed to give Carrie a more inclusive role. Basically, you were looking back on his memories from five years ago when the invasion had first taken place.
Access was excellent, although again it would have been nice to see the experience with people that had gone the usual way round just to hear their stories about what they had seen along the way. If you are disabled and want to do this, then I would suggest that you need a manual wheelchair that can handle cobbles, ramps, and tight spaces. This is for the best because when you have the virtual reality headset on you are not able to see anything apart from the virtual world. Also, you go through rooms that should not have discovered when you are going through the lifts, and it would be best if you could keep your eyes closed, so you don’t ruin the surprise.
I did find a lot of it great, even if it did move away from the story in several parts. (One of which was the complete cut of the song by Parson Nathaniel and his wife, Beth. In fact, their role was cut quite a lot.) Mind you, as it is not my favourite song, I was not particularly bothered by the omission.
However, if you are not a fan and do not know the actual story, then you will just be left confused by the gaps that are left. Obviously, the fans could fill the blanks, but anyone else (like my carer) would be left wondering what had just happened.
I really enjoyed the time inside, and no way did it feel like a hundred and 10 minutes long. It seemed really short.
But, hey, I survived!