Review by Daz Gale
At the good ship All That Dazzles, we love to celebrate all the best theatre has to offer all the UK. Similarly, we love to showcase various experiences we think lovers of theatre would also love. With that in mind, when I was asked to assemble a crew in an attempt to Escape from the Golden Hinde, I jumped at the chance to walk the plank… on to the ship. But was it a pirates life for me, or would I have been better off staying at home with a bottle of rum?
Inspired by the Tudor ship captained by Francis Drake between 1577 and 1580, this full sized replica sits in London Bridge and has been transformed into a unique experience - part escape room (as you are travelling through the entire ship), part submersive adventure with a good measure of theatre thrown in. Created by Secret Studio who are a team of filmmakers, actors and theatre practitioners, teams of up to 6 people can gather and try to save the ship from sinking (though the fate of Leonardo DiCaprio is not affected in this adventure) in one hour.
"Little Dazzlers" pulling our meanest faces... or, in my case, my natural one.
With our team of five consisting of four All That Dazzles reviewers, or Little Dazzlers as they are affectionately known, our team name was a no brainer. The Little Dazzlers ventured forth being permitted entrance to the otherwise locked ship with a secret code and a pledge. After a brilliantly personal and friendly welcome and brief, it was almost time for us to solve the mysteries the Golden Hinde had in store for us, but not before a game of “spiky pooper”.
“What be spiky pooper, matey” I hear ye cry. After laughing far too hard at the name (were they not aware of the puns we pride ourselves on), we attached a spike to our waists and attempted to insert it into a glass bottle through a combination of squatting and, inexplicably, twerking. Very clearly a game designed to fill time while the previous group solved the riddles from the first room, it was an unexpected highlight of the experience and put us in great spirits. A teaser of our spiky pooper experience can be seen in the video below. I would recommend all landlubbers demand they get their own spiky pooper attempt at some point during the game, or you’ll be missing out on the most addictive game since (well, technically before) Mario Kart.
As for the escape room (ship) itself, I can’t give away any of the secrets obviously, but I can tell you how perfectly executed it all was. Head-scratching riddles, hidden props and no shortage of surprises were all littered throughout the number of rooms. What was refreshing though was a beautiful balance of letting you get the answers yourself while not being afraid to give you a nudge in the right direction. You are given every possible chance to escape in time and save the ship with clues being thrown at you if, like us, you are missing something blindingly obvious.
While the concept of the game is anchored in, there is a bit of wiggle room to make each experience unique in its own right. Players have to make an important choice early on in the game which has mild repercussions, changing the experience slightly. The brilliant gaggle of actors on hand too create a sense of theatre, with our group even being treated to an impromptu song (they must have known they were dealing with a group of musical obsessives).. The effortless ability of this talented crew to improvise and stay in character completely led to an overwhelmingly joyous experience. There was also no shortage of innuendo to be had – prepare to plunge your rod into a hole.
The creators of the show are also very aware of accessibility issues with the instant ability to tailor an experience for those with various needs including the option to remove any sudden surprises which not everyone may be ok with. The game can also be tailored if children are present with extra surprises hidden for them to make it all the more enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the ship and their own limitations with it, it is not wheelchair friendly – and anyone on the taller side may want to practice crawling around with a helmet on due to the very low ceilings in certain rooms. There are also moments where you do need a bit of physical strength to move objects but the crew are happy to assist and carry an impressive amount of strength given that they’re ghosts.
As someone who loves an escape room, submersive adventures and gasp theatre,
Escape From The Golden Hinde ticked all of the boxes for me. A genuinely thrilling adventure, it manages to not be too easy to be solved straight away but not too difficult that we failed miserably. Most importantly, the whole thing was consistently fun and never felt frustrating in any way. Meticulously planned and flawlessly realised, this fantastic experience is a glittering new addition for London with many treasures to be found among its decks. Grab some crew-mates, hoist up your flag pole and prepare to set sail – this is an adventure that is not to be missed.
Escape From The Golden Hinde can be booked at http://www.escapeintime.co.uk/goldenhinde/
Use the exclusive code SECRETDAZZLE for a 20% discount on tickets.
Can’t be combined with any other offer or discount. Expires 15th November 2023.