Lost Origin at Hoxton Docks may not be a true play, but it is a great way to pass an hour.

Lost Origin

London’s Hoxton Docks                                                               Until Saturday, 1hr


Lost Origin isn’t your meat and two-veg play: it’s immersive, partly improvised and seriously high-tech, featuring lasers, virtual-reality headsets and gizmos galore. You don’t watch the play so much as help create it. 

This very much isn’t theatre for people who like to doze off in comfy seats at the back of the auditorium; though each showing lasts just an hour, every minute is packed with activity.

Participants are taken in small groups to the shipping container and briefed about their mission upon pitching up. There’s a villain on the loose in the vicinity – a dastardly dark net supremo who’s selling illegal bounty online (Covid vaccines, Picassos, human organs… the usual). 

While the actors (Yasmine Holness Dove, above, in the Deep Time Room) guided my group of six through the plot with real energy, they were also hammy and overexcited

Although the six actors, Yasmine Holness-Dove (above in Deep Time Room), guided us through the plot with great energy, we also found them tense and excited.

After that, the unit goes on the hunt and sneaks from one room to the next in an elaborate dock in Hoxton. This is to make sure the baddie gets paid for his crimes.

It’s less a play than a high-spec and convoluted escape room. While the actors guided my group of six through the plot with real energy, they were also hammy and overexcited, as if they’d forgotten their audience was within touching distance, not marooned in rows far away. 

But it’s a fun way to spend an hour, and the sets are magnificent (one memorable scene plays out in the blown-out pages of a diary). Participating in the show is like falling down the rabbit hole Lewis Carroll-style. 

It’s just a pity that children under 14 aren’t allowed – they’d love it.