Review: 80 days: A real-world adventure

80 Days, courtesy of Sofia Romualdo (1) Kelly Long
Kelly Long as Nightingale the Navigator. Credit: Sofia Romualdo

Style: Interactive Treasure Hunt
Where: Underbelly Festival
When: Booking until 29th September

Rating: 5/5 stars

Not suitable for those with mobility issues.

If you’ve lived in a city all your life, it can be quite hard to find ways to look at it with fresh eyes; new ways to explore it and see it anew. 80 Days was held around the corner from my last two offices in an area I know very well. The park you start it was where I had sat and had coffee with my old boss just last week. So the fact that I found so much joy in the London of this experience, and learned so much about an area I thought I knew was a sign of the exceptional amount of thought and quality that has been put into this experience.

Upon arrival, you are sent off with a map and log into a website. the map covers most of the Strand and Covent Garden. The website has clues to find as well as map references. It also has shops to buy things along the way to help with your journey around the world. Each solved clue gives you more money – as do (if successful) wagers with the cast.

80 Days, courtesy of Sofia Romualdo (8) Nicholas Anscombe
Nicholas Anscombe as Baron Pendelton. Credit Sofia Romualdo

The cast and the game are charming, imaginative and inventive throughout. The clues are reasonably challenging and the trick is to plan your route well to ensure you maximise your opportunities to earn and buy.  They clearly put an awful lot of thought, time and effort into creating an experience that worked incredibly well. We ran all over and enjoyed ourselves enormously even when we failed to find clues.

I genuinely can’t think of a better way to have spent a sunny Sunday afternoon. Boris Johnson may be elected PM tomorrow, We may No-Deal Brexit by the autumn. But in the meantime lovelies, go run around London like a loon trying to solve clues and win dice games. All the while singing the theme tune from Willy Fog.

My only quibble with this show is both that I really want to do it again, but am not sure that it would work twice as I now know both a number of the clues (though if you go and find out what hat the blue lady is wearing please, please tell me as it was my unsolved clue and is driving me mad!) and what equipment is best. But this is a minor thing based solely on how much I enjoyed it the first time around. And I will definitely hope to see a lot more from this production company.

I heartily recommend this adventure for anyone who fancies doing something a bit quirky, a bit different and a lot charming.

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