Do not be misled by the venue attribution. Tom Salamon's intricate,
ingenious piece takes place across much of Southwark, on streets, by
the river and in a variety of premises. Without giving too much away,
the "audience" for each afternoon performance slot – four or five at a
time – are recruited by a sinister voice on the phone to meet at a
designated place and time in order to complete a mastercrime, solving
clues treasure-hunt-style and encountering a series of associates of
the original perp as we make our way to the hidden booty.
This is one of those cases where detailed description would spoil the
enjoyment of those who might come after, without adding much to the
understanding of other readers. Suffice it to say that, after two hours
or so, I was carrying a map of Tate Modern, a series of word-game
cards, a batch of photographs, a Kinder Surprise-type gift pellet, a
rubbing from a mural engraving, half a page torn out of an old edition
of Paradise Lost
and a highly
cryptic serving suggestion for crumpets. My cohorts had also acquired
several mysteriously etched coins, a playing card, another batch of
photos, a combination-locked pocket safe and an old disinfecting kit.
Eating a soft whipped ice cream proved to be an essential stage in the
quest; the group preceding us fell behind due to their confectionery
reservations, and by the end our two quads were working in concert.
Even so, and with the combined might of half a dozen critics from
assorted publications, we allowed ourselves to be distracted by red
herrings and just failed to crack the final code.
This is not theatre, but it is drama; not a
play, but play. The accounts of
the various conspirators we meet are part-character comedy, part-clue
and entirely devoid of profundity. Above all else – though there is
very little else – the event is great fun. In inclement weather I can
imagine it dragging, but just as the summer sun turns autumnal and
breezes on the south bank of the Thames are fresh but not yet cold, it
is an immensely enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, whether with
friends or strangers. Oh... and you haven't seen me and I didn't tell
you this, all right?