Review: Crooks 1926 (COLAB Theatre)
It’s not often I delve into the world of truly immersive theatre, sure we’ve all been to the odd pantomime where you’re berated by the classic ‘he's behind you’ shtick but that’s more interaction than immersion; if you want to experience a truly immersive spectacle and be transported to another time look no further than Crooks 1926. COLAB theatre’s newest venture is what I’d describe as the peak of immersive theatre. Part escape room part play, COLAB theatre puts the audience at the forefront of a bustling 1920s gang-centric heist movie and it’s amazing every step of the way!
It was an absolute pleasure to get suited and booted for a fantastic night of immersive, thrilling, and dynamic theatre. Crooks 1926 takes you on a high-stakes journey as you and your merry bunch of union workers scheme your way into a small fortune to pay back one of London’s crime lords, and for an astounding 160 minutes, you genuinely feel like you’re a part of London's underground crime scene.
The set was incredible and on a scale far grander than I initially expected, I thought it had reached its peak only to be promptly led downstairs into a whole new subterranean section beneath the building; as I then explained to my friend ‘Christ this is good’, like a giddy child awaiting a visit from Santa. The set was filled with wonderful detail and you could tell they spent a painstaking amount of time to make sure everything was to an incredibly high standard.
With a team of 5 actors, it's incredible how they manage to keep track of all the changing plot points and numerous things the guests throw at them, whilst remaining fully committed to their characters. There is never a dull moment, you always have something to engage with, and it's rare you become a passive viewer, essentially everyone has a huge part to play in this one overarching narrative as the actors lead you through it. The actors did a great job of managing the show, ensuring everyone felt heard despite some interesting improvisations from the viewing public, which often led us down obscure tangents. We laughed, we joked, and most importantly we made bank. The story ultimately culminates in an intense climax, which has the audience on the edge of their seats.
At an asking price of around thirty-five pounds this show, in my opinion, is a steal, this is an experience I would be happy to pay double for. For those who enjoy getting dressed up for a night of amazing immersive theatre, I’d suggest you keep your eye closely on whatever COLAB theatre is up to next!
As a man who enjoys his drinks, the cocktails were spot on. I even asked for a recipe for use at home, and the bar staff happily obliged. I became very fond of the Gingerbread Cocktail, which was a lovely Christmassy beverage for a fantastic night of theatre. If you are going to attend a night like this, I highly suggest you splash out and treat yourself to the selection of cocktails, you won't regret it.
Crooks 1926 is on until the 18th December. For more information and tickets, click here.