★★★✬ Peaky Blinders: The Rise

“This place is under new management, by order of the Peaky Blinders”

What would you do if you were thrust into the world of your favourite television series? If you were able to speak to the characters you both loved and hated? If you held the fate of the series in your hands? Well, if you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders, there is a place where you can answer these questions for yourself. Peaky Blinders: The Rise, currently playing in Camden, is an immersive experience that allows audiences to step into the world of the Shelbys, interacting with characters both old and new and determining the fate of the night through their choices. 

Before attending the immersive experience, I decided to binge-watch the show it was based on in order to get some more context. I’m so glad that I made this choice, as even though the experience is fun without knowing the stories from Peaky Blinders, being familiar with the characters and different plotlines takes the experience to another level. It was sometimes difficult to remember exactly where in the show’s timeline Peaky Blinders: The Rise took place in, but that was not essential in enjoying the performances. 

There were some incredible moments that stood out during the experience, especially those that involved more personal moments with the actors. I was lucky enough to be pulled into a storyline with Alfie Solomons, the notorious gang leader who is letting Tommy use his Camden warehouse. The actor playing Solomons is absolutely brilliant – I even overheard some audience members asking their friends if it was actually Tom Hardy reprising his iconic role! Solomons sent me on a mission to rob Tommy and the Shelby family, and who was going to say no to such an intimidating man?

From that moment forward, I had a mission in Peaky Blinders: The Rise – Take Tommy Shelby down. The focus became finding all of the places that the Shelby family had hidden their money throughout Solomon’s warehouse. In focusing on my mission, I ended up missing a lot of the major action, instead having conversations with characters and exploring more hidden parts of Camden. I even managed to get into the Eden Club, a separate part of the set that requires both cast and audience members to exit the Camden Garrison, loop around the building, go up a flight of stairs in The Cheese Bar, and wait in a hallway of locked doors. 

Unfortunately, even with fantastic actors and a truly stunning set, Peaky Blinders: The Rise struggles to figure out exactly how to deal with its audiences. There are times when you are simply observing conversations with one or two offhand comments acknowledging your existence, and then there are times in which you become a character and play a pivotal role within the experience. There is also the issue of having too many subplots that audience members can get pulled into, leading to some confusion. I found myself working for several different people at the same time, many with contradictory motives. The experience can also get incredibly crowded, making it difficult to see any of the scenes happening around you. I was unable to see Tommy’s big entrance or the finale as I ended up in spots further away from the action. 

Ultimately, Peaky Blinders: The Rise is an immersive experience that will truly make you feel like you are running through the streets of 1920s Camden, forming alliances and earning money in order to either save or ruin the Peaky Blinders and Tommy Shelby himself. While some improvements could be made to turn Peaky Blinders: The Rise into a brilliant experience, the current run is a fun night out and a fantastic way for fans of Peaky Blinders to live out their dreams of being a part of the Shelby family.

Peaky Blinders: The Rise is running at the Camden Garrison in Camden Stables Market until 28 May. Tickets can be purchased here.


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