This is not immersive theatre, nor is it trying to be. It is an immersive treasure hunt, and it’s an excellent one at that.
Loosely themed around Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days, players take on the role of explorers gathering resources for a global expedition. This takes the form of a witty and impressively thought-out race around Covent Garden. Real-world clues are solved to gather in-world money and items via a well-designed web app, culminating in a digital dash around the world with the fastest team emerging victorious.
Players are aided by a trio of actors playing ‘patrons’ who offer advice and wagers along the way. Although they’re brought to life with charm and commitment – by Dare Emmanuel, Kelly Long and Matt Vickery on our outing – you spend little time with them, which is a shame. There’s around ten minutes at either end of the race, with the potential to stumble across them en route. Those interactions add hugely to the experience and one more character/actor to increase their frequency wouldn’t go amiss.
A little more information about the mechanics of the game would be helpful at the outset, to reduce wasted time while getting to grips with the set-up. But there’s clearly been a great deal of care put into making sure it’s a satisfying experience for all, which is key for immersive events of any nature. Whether players want to run full pelt to find as much as possible or take a more leisurely approach, as long as they pay attention and commit, both ways bear fruit.