loti arts | the grift
Are you an up-and-coming con artist with half a dozen jobs on your résumé and a burning desire to take your shady career to the next level? If so, you should probably re-evaluate your life choices. But if you’ve ever seen a smooth-looking artful dodger on TV and thought, “Damn, I’d love to have a go at that under controlled circumstances and also avoid prison,” then read on. This one’s for you.
The Grift, an immersive part game, part theatre experience, has everything you want from a true immersive theatre experience – a setting that fits the story like a glove, actors that make you forget they’re actors, small details that build out the story’s world, and a seamless experience that puts you right in the thick of the action and compels you to participate.
From the moment you walk in to the historic Town Hall Hotel in London’s Bethnal Green, the stage is set The group’s been gathered there by the mysterious Ben, a lifelong con man who grew up in the hotel and needs your help to pull one last posthumous heist (Ben’s dead. We probably should have mentioned that earlier.)You have to prove your intelligence as find your way around the hotel, solving riddles and tests set by Ben and administered by colourful characters who are all connected to the hotel. Solve the test and you’ll learn a con. Successfully run the con, and you’ll be one step closer to bringing down your nemesis.
The tests themselves are surprisingly challenging and will test the skills of everyone in your group. Every test ties into the larger story, with plot details and mysteries revealed if you’re able to prove yourselves. Small details like Ben’s personalised letters, old photos and news clippings really bring the story to life. The adventure ends by bringing together everything you’ve learned throughout the night for a winner-take-all showdown with your criminal adversary.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be pretty hungry at that point, so an invitation to dinner will be very welcome. Enter The Corner Room, a cozy restaurant within the hotel serving a special two-course set menu designed to go alongside the live experience. We can’t recommend The Grift enough. The amount of care put into the performance is evident in every detail, and the actors are fantastic at not only bringing the story to life but also encouraging you to get involved. When it comes to immersive theatre, The Grift is a masterclass in how it’s done and makes for a great night out in London. By the end, you’ll live for the hustle.