Lost Origin review – Big budget interactive adventure goes awry

IMersive theater, at its best, transports us to another being. Hidden within an abandoned warehouse on the back streets of Hoxton in east London, Lost Origins, a new interactive story created by Alameda Theater in partnership with Factory 42 and Sky, is billed as a 60-minute problem-solving group adventure. She goes. But, despite its impressive technical delusions, its weak base fails to suspend our disbelief.

In teams of six, welcome to Wing 7, an undercover secret unit whose mission is to enter Original Headquarters, a suspicious base for an illegal dark web marketplace controlled by evil mastermind Haggledens. From the Origin reception, we’re entering a dirty, underground storeroom through secret doors across the walls and edge-lit corridors. Filled with old record players, stolen celebrity paraphernalia and COVID-19 vaccinations, all enclosed behind code-protected glass screens – details so rich it would be impossible to see it all.

‘The story evolves from a criminal espionage mission to a journey of extraterrestrial exploration.’ lost origin. Photo: Seamus Ryan

Yet, even in such a wide environment, our presence seems aimless. The group’s leader, Marsha (Daisy Badger), does her best to guide us toward clues to move the drama forward, but more often than not we see her looking back, surprised. His scintillating performance isn’t enough to stop his constant instruction from feeling overbearing and unnatural.

As the story evolves from a criminal espionage mission to a journey of extraterrestrial discovery, the reliance on digital media goes up a notch. Inside the pages of a lost diary we are given the task of determining the origin of a prehistoric fossil. The ghostly energy that we reinforce by gestures with our hands is mounted on giant sheet walls, with dazzling, mixed-reality glasses fitted over our eyes so we can see phantom dinosaur figures. Clearly sentient, they yelp in front of us, and we are encouraged to reach out to them – a species classification tool appears when we do. Although it doesn’t make sense in this complicated story, it’s still a bit funny.

The culmination of a three-year research project in a future audience, and apparently supported by a jumbo budget, Lost Origins had astonishing potential. But its visual allure is what takes us so far.