Last Updated on November 11, 2021
The Drop has arrived in East London
Following the success of the Isklander trilogy of online mystery experiences, multi-award-winning immersive theatre makers Swamp Motel are ready to take audiences into London’s criminal underworld with their live, heart-pounding adventure called The Drop.
Before you worry about falling, rest assured you are passing through solid ground at all times which is not going to fall out under you. Also, to the best of my knowledge, you don’t have to be athletic to make it through the experience. Taking place at 55 Aldgate High Street in East London, audiences can explore a hidden world created especially for 2-4 people.
The story starts in 1912 where two London bookbinders were commissioned to create a luxurious jewelled binding for a book that became known as The Great Omar. Hugely valuable, the book was purchased by a buyer and was packed safely aboard a boat bound for New York. On the 15th of April 1912, the RMS Titanic sank along with the book and a sea of secrets were never recovered. But, is everything what it appears to be?
Swamp Motel puts its trademark in every show by including interactive and exhilarating experiences which blur the lines between fantasy and reality. In their most ambitious production to date, Swamp Motel transforms an abandoned East London location using cutting edge technology and inventive storytelling into the set of an immersive visceral thriller.
The Drop successfully merges together an immersive experience where you are at the heart of the action with an escape game concept. Creators Ollie Jones and Clem Garritty formed Swamp Motel in 2017 after being co-founders of the critically acclaimed comedy theatre company Kill the Beast, and have been weaving immersive storytelling webs for the stage and screen around the world together for over ten years.
Audiences will start the experience as they get onto a lift to get into a meeting. However, as with all escape room experiences, something will go wrong and you will need to find a way out by solving various puzzles. The experience in the lift was terrifying to me, I’ve previously had nightmares about being trapped in a lift and not being able to get out before I wake up to reality. During the experience, I constantly had to balance my emotional state by telling myself that it was not real while also admiring how immersive the experience was. Luckily for me, I brought three companions who were in a much better position to figure out what we had to do to get out of there but even they were questioning which elements were real and which were fake. There are definitely moments of surprise weaved into various parts of the story and you will be left unsure if you are supposed to be doing what you’re doing.
I’ve never been in an escape room before where lighting, sound, story and visual elements were constantly tweaked to deliver an immersive show (or maybe escape rooms, in general, have received a theatrical upgrade since reopening after COVID closure) but I genuinely did feel scared even if I knew in my heart it wasn’t real.
The experience continues into a back office where you will be given further instructions on what to do. Finally, you get to a perfume shop and await instructions or figure out what to do next.
How does it all end? You’ll have to experience The Drop yourself to find out. I have to reiterate that no matter how much fear you experience, everyone will get out physically unharmed. However, as it has a storyline interlinked with criminal underground activities, I would recommend anyone who has any specific traumas relating to criminal activity to check with the staff and confirm they will not be adversely affected psychologically.
It was highly enjoyable during the times when I wasn’t scared (!) and one of the most immersive experiences I have ever had to date. My companions also all enjoyed the experience and after the show, we couldn’t stop talking about how realistic some of the elements were. If you want to star in your own thriller adventure, this is your chance.
The Drop has plans to expand its story world further in early 2022, with an interactive film experience, created in collaboration with The Lowry as part of its ‘Live Now’ commissioning programme. This online counterpart will allow audiences across the world to step into Swamp Motel’s latest theatrical conspiracy from the comfort of home.
Limited to 20 sessions per day, The Drop runs through to 31 December 2021.
55 Aldgate High Street, London, EC3N 1AL
Tuesday – Friday – sessions start at 6pm, last session at 9.30pm
Saturdays – Sunday – sessions start at 2pm, last session at 9.30pm
Approx 45-60 minutes
From £39.95 per person
If you are a lover of immersive theatre you’ll be looking forward to PunchDrunk’s latest production, Burnt City, which launches on 22 March 2022. Tickets are already on sale. And, if you simply enjoy theatre, do check out Bluebeard’s Castle, currently showing at Stone Nest