The night out starts tamely enough with a three-course dinner, but with cast members on the prowl for ‘victims’, the immersive production soon dishes up the mayhem. By the time Project Mayhem – produced by Secret Theatre founder and artistic director Richard Crawford – reaches its gripping and surprisingly emotional climax, participants will feel as though they have been put through the wringer and have been involved in something truly subversive.
It’s an edgy, visceral show and, while we don’t want to spoil it for anyone, you may have guessed from the promo material that it’s based on a certain film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton about a violent organisation whose first (and second) rules are that you can’t talk about it.
The 13 cast members from three countries (including Hong Kong model and It Girl Rosemary Vandenbroucke) are by and large excellent, and their experience gained from previous Secret Theatre shows allows them to quickly identify those who want to get fully involved in the show (such as my companion that night), and those who prefer to remain more passive observers.
The immersion begins during the three-course dinner curated by Butchers Club, with cast members prowling the dining room, dishing out attitude and preparing participants for the mayhem to come.
During the night, the more active participants (including my companion) are press-ganged into a range of activities, including a strenuous workout that made me glad I opted out, considering the flushed and sweaty faces. And the level of immersion was so great that it was sometimes hard to tell who was a part of the cast and who was an audience member – an obvious mark of success for any immersive theatre production.
Secret Theatre Project Mayhem, until Dec 10, various times, location provided on purchase of ticket through Ticketflap.