Where to go this week - - by Zane Henry

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Twin Peaks is back, y’all. David Lynch’s cult TV show is coming back for a third season next year, brimming with freshly-brewed small town weirdness. Inspired by the news, London is hosting ‘The Owls Are Not What They Seem’, a pop-up immersive theatre restaurant based in the surreal world of Twin Peaks. We speak to Louise of Lemonade & Laughing Gas, the organisers of this gosh-darnit amazing event.


Was the 2016 reboot the inspiration for the project?

It’s been an idea that’s been brewing for a good few years now. I feel like, in some way, all the events we’ve been doing over the last few years have been rehearsals for this. We’ve always been inspired by Lynch and always try to bring bits of his visual language and sense of humour to our events. We’ve been saying for at least a year that we need to do an all-out Lynch event. Then, when the announcement of a third season was being produced, we took it as a sign from above. We went for it.

How essential is to be a massive Twin Peaks fan to attend and enjoy the experience?

I don’t think it’s essential at all. In some ways, you get a sense of Lynch’s influence in all kinds of film and TV productions. So people who might not know his work by name, will still be able to tap into and appreciate his unique sensibility without battling to catch every little reference. Obviously, if you’re a Twin Peaks fan, this is going to be insane for you. It really is like stepping into the Twin Peaks universe.

Without revealing any spoilers, can you give any insight into what the entertainment will include?

It’s so hard answering these kinds of questions without giving anything away. I can say that fans will not be disappointed. It really will feel like stepping into Lynch’s head. The idea is based around the idea of a diner. Like Lynch, we love the idea of taking comfortable, modern domesticity and juxtaposing it with surrealism, high camp and the supernatural.

How have Lemonade & Laughing Gas gone about recreating the ultimate Lynchian diner atmosphere?

We always start any project by asking ourselves, “What would we like to experience when we walk into a room?” In this case, we’ve asked ourselves, “What’s the weirdest, funniest most surreal thing we can imagine that is true to the world of Twin Peaks?” That’s our jumping off point. Then we carefully curate our guests’ journey from the initial email notification, to the announcement of the location, to the building in of twists and turns on the night so that they’re kept on their toes.

Have there been any challenges with this project?

Keeping everything on lockdown is probably one of the biggest. It’s such a massive project and we’re so excited by it, we find it hard to keep it a secret. But it’s so essential to the experience that everything is hush-hush. That’s why we’re imposing a social media and photography ban. Its going to be tough as phones are just extensions of their hands for most people.

How would you like people to leave the experience feeling?

We’d like people to leave feeling they just experienced pure escapism and that it will take them a little while to come back down to earth. We want them to be walking back to the station thinking, “God, where have we been for the last few hours?”

Who is your favourite Twin Peaks character?

I’d have to say Gordon Cole, Lynch’s little walk-on cameo. I feel like his character’s absurdism and heightened soap opera-ness a metaphor for the rest of Twin Peaks. and, by extension, our event.

‘The Owls Are Not What They Seem’ runs from Aug 27 to Oct 17. To book a ticket go to notwhattheyseem.com


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