By Tom Salamon.
Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NF to 25 March 2018.
Tues-Fri 8pm. Sat 2pm, 5pm & 8pm Sun 2pm & 5pm.
Runs 1 hr 50 mins. No interval.
Review: William Russell 30 January
A right old con
This is part theatre, part immersive experience in which the audience is divided into five groups of ten who are then taken round this magnificent hotel, which was once a town hall, and introduced to various ways of conning suckers. They are also required to solve clues so that they can move from one room to the next, and because the groups are moving round in different directions it all has to be done at speed. The climax comes in what was the town hall council chamber when a conman is conned. There is no point in spoiling the fun by saying any more really.
The actors who play the various guides along the way do it with enthusiasm and the punters in the group I went round with – they included the usual know all, a lady called Alice, who would have done every task had she been given half a chance – had a whale of a time. The cons themselves were pretty basic – like the switched brief cases ploy or the one about the lost item for which a massive reward is offered and when it is found the person told about it is duly tempted to conceal the amount of the reward. The fact is that the finder is in on the con and the person tempted hands over their own cash but never gets the reward because there is no reward. Some of the clues – they allow the groups to open padlocked boxes containing the next set of instructions – are suitably fiendish. Is it theatre? Maybe not. But it is what it claims – an immersive experience which allows one to practice the art of deception.
The players –
Dylan Allcock, Ged Forrest, Rachel Horner, Laura Kirman, Alastair Kirton, Daniel Millar, Kevin Moore, Mark Oosterveen, Ethan Quinn.
Actor bar tenders: Siobhan O’Mahoney. Tanya Truman.
Director: Tom Aalamon.
Sound: Andrew Johnson.
Video: Nathan Arnzi.
Props: Lizzy Gethings.
Costume: Beatrice Mayfield.