A secret location off Old Kent Road, London – until 9 January 2019
This immersive experience began life as a Secret Cinema activity and continues to return and entertain audiences.
The one-on-one aspect could be quite intimidating, as you stand outside an abandoned church with only a phone number (on a rainy day I attended it felt almost film-like and sinister) to contact Dr. Molly Leon (Sofi Lee-Henson) for your appointment. Inside a warm, neon-lit room you fill in a consent form, get your medical bracelet and begin a medical procedure on being better as Dr. Leon finds out what you want to improve (Love, Knowledge and Power are the options. Sadly you cannot request all three) and gain from this treatment.
This isn’t a real procedure, aided by ASMR techniques such as softly spoken talking, binaural headphones, it is simply a strangely relaxing way of getting your ‘better’ chip implanted into your brain with the option of a stamp to ensure you heal correctly. As a huge ASMR fan, I found this aspect very relaxing and would pay good money for an hour of fake medical procedures as it was a very sensory experience along with the meditation aspect to finish off your session. My one complaint is that it felt like it went too quickly. Lee-Henson also finds herself ahead of the curve with Netflix show Maniac containing a lot of similar imagery to her production.
As with any true immersive experience more will get out of it than others; the more extrovert may find the calm setting too quiet but will be able to get something out Dr Leon and their treatment, those who lean into the introverted/observer mode will find themselves distracted by the videos, the set, the lovely bird vase and may not be as communicative and take in more the visuals.
The process ends with a stunning cocktail mixture that is either non-alcoholic or alcoholic depending on your choice. Henson’s background as a mixologist and graphic designer give her an interesting edge over someone with a performance background as Dr Leon she seems interested in the participant as a character and I could happily go for another treatment or even watch others have their own experience.
If you would prefer to share the experience then Dr Leon offers a couples therapy session (though you don’t have to be a couple and if you are having marital problems an actual therapist would be a better idea) and it goes beyond an immersive experience ASMR enthusiasts will love it and the boozehound in me encouraged Henson to get in the cocktail connoisseurs with her interesting mixes, if you cannot face a one to one performance there could always be the option to head to the “pharmacy” and receive your treatment that way.
Neural Enhancement with Dr. Leon is at a secret location off Old Kent Road until 9 January 2019 and then moves to a new venue in Brick Lane from Sunday 6 January