Swamp Motel, London – until 31 December 2021
Guest reviewer: Emma Burnell
Running at around an hour, The Drop is a fast-paced cross between an immersive show and an escape room.
You gather in an unassuming office reception to start – looking much like any of the thousands of office receptions in the surrounding part of the city. From there, your group are taken to a lift which ominously has a briefcase sitting on the floor. As the doors close behind you, the fun begins.
I have no intention of ruining any of the action or surprises that come regularly throughout the time you spend on working your way through The Drop. Suffice it to say that I was surprised regularly and came out of the experience feeling both exhilarated and challenged. The puzzles lead seamlessly one to another and are set at just the right level. You never feel completely frustrated, but nor do you feel like it’s all just too easy.
The level of detail that has gone in to planning The Drop is incredible. Again, it is hard to say much without giving too much away, but the world they have created lies far beyond the four walls of the lift and the intricacy and attention to detail are sublime.
If I were to have a couple of niggles with The Drop, they are both related to wanting more. The ending, for example, felt a tiny bit abrupt. I could have gone longer and very much wanted to.
Equally, it is sort of essential that you play in a group. As a curmudgeonly singleton, this always slightly makes me feel excluded. I was lucky that having come alone on review night, I was teamed up with an absolutely charming member of staff (who did a great job of pretending he knew nothing!) to help me get through. But I would say that if booking ticket, be aware that you will want to go in at least a pair.
But as I have already said, both of these very minor quibbles are related to the fact that I wanted more for myself and for others like me. Because The Drop was an exceptionally engaging, enervating and exciting experience. Right from ‘the start’ (and trust me, you don’t really know when that is) it grabs you and keeps your adrenaline running.
I left The Drop wishing I could go back and do it all again for the first time. That this isn’t possible may make the business model for the show tricky. The experience wouldn’t – I think – bear repeating because working out the puzzles and the many spectacular surprise elements are key to what makes it so good.
I would recommend The Drop to anyone but the extremely claustrophobic. And even then, perhaps their even more heightened experience might pay dividends as they go through the action.
The Drop is on until 31 December 2021
‘A fast-paced cross between an immersive show & an escape room’: @EmmaBurnell_ checks into @swampmotel to review #TheDrop for @braintree_. ★★★★★ #theatrereviews #OffWestEnd