‘It’s so f***ing creepy’
‘Can you all hurry up’
‘The door just opened by itself’
…maybe not the most reassuring texts to receive in the group chat, but enough to get you excited on your way to The Escapist by Modern Fables. Beginning with a creepy welcome at their South Bermondsey site and a delightful chat about cults with a bartender, this theatrical escape room is far from Fort Boyard.
Without giving away any spoilers, the Modern Fables team’s focus is to create an especially immersive theatrical experience, with a serious attention to detail and a solid plot based around cults. Taking their main inspiration from the work and style of H.P. Lovecraft, they add a new dramatic element to the potentially stale escape room industry.
In The Escapist there is a proper story behind the clues, forcing not just motivation beyond merely escaping, but offering the satisfaction of figuring out what has ‘actually’ happened in these rooms. The actors make you feel completely involved in the plot, which both heightens the enjoyment and gets the heart rate going. Their combination of theatre and puzzle, whilst perhaps initially a little awkward, often has you asking, ‘how the f*** did they do that?’ and feeling more like kids watching a magician than adults playing dress up.
But that being said, Modern Fables’ set up is certainly not perfect. Looking more closely, the era seems a little confused and it is unclear when exactly the story takes place. The sets and costumes hint to the early twentieth century or even earlier, but this is complicated by references to texts, emails, and the decision to allow participants to keep their phones whilst they solve the mystery. Similarly, the method of delivering clues can be clumsy at times, especially towards the end of the game, when (we suspect) we were only moving forward because we had been allowed to.
But from the off, The Escapist is good, wholesome fun. It is by no means flawless, but still pound for a pound a more interesting and entertaining way of spending an afternoon with friends than going to the pub. The team are clearly committed and the staff we spoke to undoubtedly love what they do. This more theatrical style of escape room has almost unlimited potential, so no wonder, then, that the Modern Fables team are looking to expand, with up to three more games. It is exciting to consider where the team might go next, but for now The Escapist is more than enough to whet your whistle.
Depending on the size of the group, prices range from £34.50 each for two players, to £21.67 each for six, but for the best experience, we’d recommend sticking to around four. Modern Fables also offer weekday offers: Mondays-Wednesdays you can save 20% using the code ESCAPEWEDNESDAY, and on Thursdays you can save 10% using the code ESCAPETHURSDAY.
Modern Fables are located at Guild House, Rollins Street, London, SE15 1EP, and can be contacted either by telephone on 07391725381 or email at [email protected]. Their website is https://modern-fables.com. The nearest rail station is South Bermondsey.
Words: Albert Sharp, Henry O’Brien, and CJS Williams.