On the rather soggy bank holiday Monday I was invited to take a trip into the world of A Door in a Wall, who put on immersive, interactive games set in real-world locations. Their latest production, The Life and Death of Paul Marrane, has just opened so I assembled a crack adventure team (um, my boyfriend and sister) and headed down to Poplar to check it out.
Now I’ve got to be honest: I’m a bit of an ~experiential theatre~ skeptic. I think I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t enjoy Punchdrunk productions and others I’ve been to have run the entire gamut from boring to embarrassing. But I’m happy to report that this was completely different and way, WAY more fun than I was expecting. The action all took place around East London’s Chrisp Street Market, where first we headed to lawyer’s firm Alder & Alder to collect our assignment and be organised into a faction.
Then the game was afoot! You’re led around the streets via a map, clues, character interactions, and these handy stickers which let us know when a location was part of the game.
I won’t say too much about the adventure itself, but there were so many fun tasks to complete and the attention to detail was wondrous – the meticulous planning that must have gone into making it is seriously impressive. We scampered up and down clock towers, did star jumps for a sergeant major, peered into shop windows, mixed chemical potions and loads more in the pursuit of the mystery of Mr Marrane.
The thrill of catching onto a clue and running (often literally, as the clock counted down) with it until it was completed was heart-poundingly exciting. Not even the rather damp evening could ruin the fun!
Then it was back to Alder & Alder to hand in our investigative report and find out who got closest to the truth. The game is four hours long and it’s a push to see everything and hence solve the mystery in the time given, but you’ll definitely have fun trying. I want to play again to see the bits I missed, even though I now know ‘whodunit’!
I got a free press ticket to review the experience.