We like a bit of nice food, and aren't averse to entertainment, so the Girl and I took ourselves down to Pedley Street Station for this dinner theatre experience, featuring a show heading down to hell, and some grub.
The premise is that we've all volunteered to get on a train to Hell, (I'm not entirely sure why - barbecue?) and while we're on it, the shackled conductor (an unfortunate chap called Claude) has realised he might finally be able to stage both an escape and a rescue of his love, Sabine.
You enter the disused station to be met by various costumed figures, and wander through to a spooky bar area for some sin-themed cocktails and a bit of a mingle, while waiting to get onto the train, which is an excellent replica carriage (very comfy seats). Cocktail apparently good (I stuck to wine, boring I know) and bar area pleasingly atmospheric (plenty of people wandering round taking pictures).
Claude is a decent actor, setting the scene with a certain amount of panache and inspiring a few thrills before we board the train, particularly in that one git who was mouthy (there's always one). He's joined on board by a collection of masked demons, who are handily available to serve courses, and Gordy, the camp maitre'd, who had an entertainingly cheeky nature. Also popping in is Sabine, doing an Ophelia impression as the mad bride of Satan (possibly the best character), and the Gatekeeper, a burlesque dancer from whom the crowd must steal a key.
There are various of these crowd participation moments, including trapping people, retrieving items from a mysterious chest and getting touched in the dark. It's more theatre than escape room I should point out though. Most people will simply be observing. But cleverly you'll be observing both the events on the train and those through the "windows", which are large screens providing a virtual view onto the hellscape, which has a nice art deco style.
It's reasonable fun, though I do think the plotting of the climax could have been a little tighter. There were a couple of points where conflict were resolved with "that's just the plot", which was somewhat unsatisfying. Still, generally entertaining, if a bit light.
More important is the menu, which was put together by Louisa Ellis. The amuse bouche was a butternut squash volute, intended for sipping, which went well with the rather crunchier starter, gnocchi and mushrooms, with a hint of truffle. The main was nearly my favourite part of the meal, being a deliciously seared guinea fowl breast, with a mustard sauce that almost had me licking the plate (apparently that's rude in company). Dessert was chocolate ganache with honey ice cream, served with a honey crisp that I could have basically eaten all day.
A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, significantly improved by some very good food. Tables of six, so either take five friends, or accept you'll be dining with strangers. Ours luckily were fine.