Last Updated on February 26, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Method, Motive and Murderer
A chance to turn amateur sleuth and channel one’s inner Sherlock Holmes is being offered by Olivier Award-nominated immersive theatre company Les Enfants Terribles. They have teamed up with virtual reality specialists LIVR to create an interactive online murder mystery that combines elements of theatre, gaming, escape room and board games.
We were greeted on Zoom by Dr Watson (wittily played by Dominic Allen), our guide in the absence of Sherlock Holmes (Richard Holmes) who is busy on another case. As Scotland Yard’s newest recruits our task was to take on “The Case of the Hung Parliament”. The gist of the story is that three members of the cabinet have all been found dead by hanging. Each of the victims died on their birthday after receiving a card containing a mysterious quote. The Prime Minister is now in mortal danger and Dr Watson warns us that we have just 75 minutes to crack the clues and save his life.
Before entering the virtual world of 1890s London, Dr Watson advised us to use our Spyglasses (aka mobile phones) to photograph evidence and to research the clues on Google. Old-fashioned pencil and paper were also a necessity. There is an overwhelming amount of information to absorb as you explore the well-designed 360-degree rooms with over 100 clues to investigate. This is a murder mystery where communication with your fellow participants is the key to success – sharing ideas, discussing clues together and sifting through the numerous red herrings.
After visiting the crime scenes, we were then given the choice of going to Scotland Yard or the Forensics Lab. I chose the former and found myself attempting to beat the clock and read all the case files – a fun but impossible task.
Dr Watson had also introduced us to the five suspects in the case, all of them with strong motives and interesting backstories. As we progressed through the mystery we each were given the chance to “interview” our own chief suspect. I was, possibly naively, expecting to speak live to an actor in character and ask my own insightful questions. Instead, we had to choose from a list of questions and watch pre-recorded answers.
After comparing notes about our “interviews” we finally made it to Baker Street for a glimpse of Sherlock’s own investigation. It would be churlish to give anything away, of course, but our group did crack the case and identify the murderer with moments to spare. Being a competitive type, this only added to my enjoyment of what is a highly entertaining murder mystery.
Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure runs until 4 April 2021. Tickets start at £17.50 for an individual as part of the public event or at £105 for a group of up to six friends with a private room!