Friday, 2 February 2018

REVIEW: The Grift at The Town Hall Hotel


Born from a secret relationship between an Englishman and Marylin Monroe, Ben (Kevin Moore) spent his entire life sheltered within the walls of The Town Hall Hotel, pampered by the staff and keeping his real identity under wraps. On his deathbed, he has left a video-recorded last will, where he incites its executors to take revenge against a ruthless grifter called Eddie 'The Hammer' (Ged Forrest). 

Gathered at a drinks reception, after having received a colour-coded wristband and a lanyard with a key, ticketholders are shown the video and introduced by the host (Mark Oosterveen) to the life of the hotel's most iconic guest. Divided in teams, the participants are to prove their intelligence, following some written directions and solving a series of puzzles. Along the way, they meet the grandchildren of those who contributed to young Ben's welfare and education: the nanny, the bellboy, the chambermaid, the pool's attendant and the barman. 

Each of these characters is keen to share memories from their ancestors' special bond with Ben and, in turn, presents the team with some tasks meant to strengthen their dexterity at scams. Some of these cons have been known for hundreds of years and must be carried out within a pre-set time frame. During the two-hour long show, suitcases are swapped, packages smuggled, and passwords hoodwinked from their unwitting owners.

Part immersive performance and part team-building game, The Grift allows its audiences to endlessly wander along the maze of corridors that The Town Hall Hotel has inherited from its previous life as a headquarter of the local council. Whilst acquiring skills in the art of deceit, the players get the opportunity to explore a unique architectural gem, notable for a quirky juxtaposition of styles and objects d'art. 
Strong with a fine array of improvising actors, Tom Salamon's brainchild is an exciting and fast-paced adventure that is equally suitable for small groups and solo attendants alike. Wear your most comfortable shoes, leave your heavy bag with the concierge and let this production immerse you into the forbidden world of hustling and rusing. 

Review by Marianna Meloni

Rating: ★★★★
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