Within his immaculate MI5-style office set up as an escape room experience for up to ten people, Agent November offers willing accomplices the opportunity to take on the role of spies with the ideal mixture of puzzles, immersive drama and tongue-in-cheek humour.
There is plenty here to keep a whole group of all ages occupied
Taking part either in a mission to defuse an EMP device locked in a briefcase, or an emergency assignment to solve the backstabbing of Mr E, there being only a 40% success rate for previous participants indicates the level of concentration and creative thinking you will need to deploy to crack the clues, all within an ominous 30-minute countdown until certain catastrophe.
Although I cannot divulge many mission details in this review, having signed a waiver of top-secret confidentiality with November himself during debrief, the enjoyable level of silliness included throughout the experience is encapsulated well in the pun-based title of the mission completed – The Murder of Mr E. This was kept up throughout by the quirky acting of Nathan Glover, the man behind November, and the odd moments when he would slip up, jump out of character, or had to hand me part of a clue which somehow hadn’t arrived earlier in the mission, all added to the fun.
The experience was made all the more intense and pressurised by the fact that I ended up being a solo agent, navigating the traps and obstacles, left by November’s evil nemesis Marty Orri, alone. With no means of delegating puzzle-solving roles for the numerous padlocks and codes, and hence a pressure to prioritise far outstripping your typical nine-five job, this inevitably meant that I missed some of the subtle storytelling elements and copious physical puns littered around the room. As a result, I, at times, felt that I was solving some puzzles in the abstract, and that it was only in the final dying seconds that I was able to bring back in some of the character storylines to (successfully, I hasten to add!) solve the crime. Nevertheless, this only means that there is plenty here to keep a whole group of all ages occupied, lots to discuss in the inevitable debrief afterwards, and a motivation to do better in November’s other pressing mission this Fringe—solving the case of Major X Plow-Shun.