Tonight we boarded a train with a muddle of strangers bound for a place called Murdér. We had the feeling this could only end one way.
With Amy Dodge
Amy is Media and PR Manager at Parkinson's UK so well used to my hairbrained schemes. Most weeks I stop by her desk and utter the words she must dread 'Amy I've had an idea...'. She's always enthusiastic and supportive and barely even flinched when I asked for her help promoting this project and it's media unfriendly name! She's become a friend rather than just a colleague.
Every good journey has a strong 'Before', 'During' and 'After' and this was no exception.
As we entered the location for 'The Jewel Of The Empire', a new immersive experience held on The Murdér Express, we couldn't help but be amazed at the attention to detail. It felt like we were embarking on a proper adventure to the point I had butterflies in my tummy and had to give myself a talking to. The setting was perfect, full of interesting things to look at, not least the giant gemstone which would be accompanying us on our voyage. As it got nearer to our departure time a collection of interesting characters joined our gathered groups and started getting us into the story.
We bought a bottle of wine from the platform bar and followed our train guard onto a beautifully realistic carriage where we were sat in a little leather booth. From then on we weren't allowed to use cameras and at the risk of spoiling it for anyone I'm not going to describe what happened for the next 2 hours. All i can say is was AMAZING for 3 reasons:
1. The food by 2018 MasterChef winner Laurence Henry was delicious.
2. The actors were incredible adlibbers and heckling was encouraged and interacted with so we all felt part of the action (the train guard kindly told me to switch seats to get the best view before it all started, a thoughtful touch played out in character) The characters sat with and interacted with us throughout and we threw some definite conversational curve balls and they didn't even flinch.
3. It was very funny, tense, over dramatic but endearing somehow all at the same time. The experience kept you enthralled with action but naturally paused to let you eat and chat to your fellow travellers which was really cleverly done. It wasn't a real train. Or even a real station come to that. But when it came to getting off the carriage my inner child was well and truly sulking, I wanted to stay on and play forever.
When we arrived in Murdér the attention to detail continued with all the signs having been changed to our destination and the bar man transformed into a frenchman complete with striped t-shirt. It left us thinking it could be an expensive taxi home to London!
This was possibly one of the most fun 2 hours i've ever had in my little life. I think I was probably annoying Amy by keep turning to her and mouthing 'this is BRILLIANT' every 5 seconds but I didn't care. It was delicious, fun, crazy and totally different and I loved it.
Who thought a trip to Murdér would end in smiles.
You can buy tickets for the Murdér Express here.