Les Enfants Terribles are well established as doyens of immersive theatre so it is little surprise that their pivot to online work is a hugely satisfying experience. Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure sees them partner with virtual reality company LIVR to create something that sits between “theatre, gaming, escape room and board game” as we don the deerstalker in order to try and solve The Case of the Hung Parliament.
The Home Secretary, The Foreign Secretary and the Lord Chamberlain have all been found hanging from a noose, Sherlock has gone missing and Watson is all of a tizzy since the Prime Minister is next on the hit list. So there’s nothing for it but to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to trying to solve the case in the time left (never has 75 minutes gone so quickly!) as a range of suspects is provided and a number of locations stuffed with clues ready for the finding.
As with any immersive show, you get back what you put in and so there’s little to be gained in sitting back, not least because the way that the game has been designed is so ingeniously done. The virtual reality tech means that you can explore rooms in 360 degrees, poking into dark corners and dusty bookshelves for every last clue. You get the opportunity to interrogate suspects and even deal with a brusque forensics expert with a soft spot for you-know-who.
And yes, I can’t say too much more without prejudicing your own investigation, for I do heartily recommend this experience. If you’ve got a group, then you can book your own game but I took part with a bunch of strangers and we made up a fine crew of amateur sleuths who may or may not have managed to crack the case at the very last, having spent so much time on so many red herrings!
Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo’s construction of the show is truly admirable, with Lansley also directing alongside James Seager, the mystery is satisfyingly dense at every stage and makes you work for every answer. The result is a highly rewarding online adventure that would impress even if we weren’t already locked down and chained to our screens.
Running time 80 minutes (without interval)
Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure is booking until 4th April
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