Retrogression: A Horror Play

An escape room style experience with a paranormal twist, Retrogression is about a ghost who scares visitors to the Brighton Toy Museum and needs to be released. We have to find the clues in order to spell the ghost's name name in each 'room' and therefore free her, and win our own release. It's a good concept with a satisfactory level of difficulty to solve the puzzles involved, including finding numbers for locks to open, discovering the significance of toys, and more. This was all accompanied by a stunning soundtrack played through our headphones from the perspective of our ghost as she takes us through all that happened to her.

A good concept with a satisfactory level of difficulty

However, this show needs a lot of work to make it more streamlined and easier to become immersed in. Firstly, we had to go into the museum only six people at a time and, due to Covid restrictions, we had to keep progressing in one direction. My team somehow managed to miss the fourth letter in the ghost's name, and these restrictions meant that we couldn't go back to double check as the next team were coming round soon after us. Normally in escape room experiences there's a set amount of time that you use to escape from one room. However, because we had to keep going from one section to the next after solving the puzzles, we seemed to miss out on part of the experience. It may help to have set staggered times of entry so that there is less concern about social distancing restrictions with other groups on each other's tails.

My group also felt that having the audio on our phones made it difficult to focus on the clues. This may well have added to missing that last letter, as we worried about whether the WiFi was working or not. However, that doesn't mean to say it's a bad idea in the long term. What might help to make it more of a more spooky experience would be have stages of the audio played over a loud speaker system/tannoy as the audience enters each section, revealing more of the story. Alongside this, dimming the lights more so that the torches provided worked more efficiently would have made for a more fully immersive experience. Other groups may have a different experience to us, and there may have been other venue restrictions in place, so it would be interesting to see what Retrogression could become when current restrictions are lifted, or potentially in a different venue.

Despite this, Retrogression has potential to be a strong show in the future. All it needs is to be streamlined as aforementioned, and this will grow into a very unique and interesting experience.

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Reviews by Sascha Cooper

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The Blurb

An interactive audio horror experience. When the lights go out in the Toy Museum, you are left surrounded by the souls of the unnaturally dead. Follow Jane, a young woman from Brighton with a mysterious childhood. Her whole life, she has been pursued by the curse of her Grandmother’s toy collection. With nothing but a torch and your quick wits to help you, will you escape the museum alive?

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