By Josie Montano & Robert McLachlan
As soon as we stepped into the venue we were immediately transported back to the year 1936, where we were not only encouraged to switch off our modern technology, as it would distract from the experience let alone frighten the 1930’s guests, but to leave our realities at the door and immerse ourselves into a fictional world of murder and mayhem. The initial provisions were a ‘rules of engagement’ flyer and a coloured pin to wear, (reason revealed later in the evening), and the promises of photo opportunities at the end of the night after the big reveal.
We were encouraged to speak and interact with the characters, informed that scenes were happening all over the ‘house’ during the night. We also had options to explore the rooms at our own leisure, follow a character as they interacted with others, or stay within the party hub with the band in the ballroom and observe incidents that happened around us.
Our host Dr Black, was holding one of his infamous high society house parties where the promise of meeting very peculiar characters was an understatement. The larger than life characters who roamed amongst us were open to interrogations, provided backstories, alibis and white lies that would assist us later in the evening. We danced, sang, drank, ate, mingled, chased the characters who darted from room to room, and witnessed the drama unfold around and in front of us ... all as a modern day city we’d escaped from buzzed outside our hypnotic world of an old time swing and jazz party.
Once the murder occurred and was discovered, the Chief Inspector and his constables required the guests’ assistance, we were all handed a ‘Detective Notebook’ with a list of the suspects. With only an hour to gather our evidence it was a race to search for weapons, clues, notes and try to catch out the suspects with our interrogations. Josie’s imagination would begin to solve the crime with elaborate motives but she was reminded many times by Rob that it was not an Agatha Christie murder mystery but Cluedo, the classic board game - one suspect, one weapon, one venue.
The interactive game is presented by Brisbane Immersive Ensemble, and hosted by the 1909 heritage Baedeker Wine Bar in the Fortitude Valley, a perfect venue for the historical story to play out in. Ben Lynskey, Company Director is a creative genius, and together with the Artistic Director, Xanthe Jones they are to be commended for their attention to detail, not only to the characters and story but also the authentic settings. A real jazz band was a treat playing all the classic pre-war jazz and swing numbers with the multi-talented cast taking turns to sing.
Whether you are a Cluedo fan or not, we highly recommend you immerse yourself into the lifestyle of a 1930’s jazz party and go as a couple, a group or even on your own. You’ll soon find yourself interacting with people you’ve never met before, form a Cluedo camaraderie and may even work together to solve the mystery. If you want to treat yourself, snare a full price ticket that includes show, interactive game, live jazz band, cocktail style dinner, and a glass of sparkling on entry. If you want to pretend that you are in the Great Depression, the off-peak ticket option excludes the catering and beverage package.
If you consider yourself an amateur sleuth and love a good old fashioned murder mystery, then get that 1930’s Great Gatsby garb on and go (highly suggest you dress to the era) – you will not be disappointed. A fun-filled night where anything and everything happened around us. We didn’t want it to end ... actually it doesn’t have to end, we can go again and again because each night there’s a new mystery to solve!
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.