There’s something about good detective stories that just wakes something in you. A sudden urge to solve something… The options are limited at that point: either you live vicariously and find another series to binge-watch or you find an escape room. Never heard of the concept? Oh, my friend, you are in for a treat. 4 walls, a clock ticking, clues and riddles galore. Just choose the theme. Oh and trust me: Handmade Mystery is the best in town.
One important point: while you can do this on your own, it’s so much more enjoyable with friends. Select them with care: you need them to be clever, observant, good under pressure and fun. I took my partner in crime, Aude, along to try Lady Chastity’s reserve in one of the coolest pubs: The Four Thieves in Clapham, which comes with arcade games, motor racing and VR on top of the escape game. How brilliant is that?
Gabrielle was waiting for us by the stairs. Beautiful, smart, flirty, commanding and irresistible all at the same time. She guided us to a dimmed corridor for a little storytelling. The switch of the atmosphere was so sudden, we stumbled on words and blushed when asked anything. Story set, the door opened up to a different stage. A haunted room, the ghost of Lady Chastity both giving us clues and wrecking our nerves with admirable precision. An intriguing yet unnerving play on light and shadows. We had forgotten about the outside world already.
It absorbs you completely. First, you take stock. Open ever drawers, look behind every picture, knock on any panel, empty every recipient… Then you try and connect the dots, question every word in a message… There is such a thrill in deciphering a code, finding a secret door, using UV light, getting to the next level. The adrenaline shot when reminded of how much time is left by Gabrielle, suddenly appearing… and yes, we did scream a few times.
We will do well but will not succeed. Not quite. The tricks were really clever, beautifully intricate: some were obvious, some needed filtering through, others needed unexpected dexterity. The decor, carefully curated, the vibe perfectly balanced. Talk about an immersive experience. This should be turned into an Airbnb and allowed to go on all night: we were on a real high!
I won’t lie: it is tempting to book the same game to finish it… But there are other stories to jump into: Poppa Plock’s wonky workshop and Operation