If, while slipping drugs into a young journalist’s drink or stealing a highly contentious hard drive from a man’s laptop in the middle of Central Park, the NYPD get the wrong impression and stop you, just let them know you’re participating in live theater. They’ll make a doubtful face, or turn to a partner, but, as I’ve learned from my own faux criminal activities in Mission: Confidential, chances are they’ll let it pass.
Mission: Confidential follows a growing trend of immersive, interactive theater, aiming to break the confines of a traditionally structured show and let the audience in on the action. Starting at one of the entrances to Central Park, you and a group of up to ten people are entrusted with the task of unearthing a criminal plot that involves a mob boss, a kidnapped girl, a rookie cop, a computer hacker, and a sassy businesswoman.
It’s certainly a lot to entrust an audience with. Groups perform their tasks, which lead them through a 3-4 block radius from the starting point, largely unguided, but the directions are generally clear enough to follow with ease and precision. Besides, trust is the name of the game in Mission: Confidential – group members must gain the trust of their fellow performers with all sorts of shady activities, which often gained us some unexpected attention from passers-by not “in” on the act.
There is also quite a bit of walking, so comfortable shoes and sunscreen are recommended. Yet, coursing through tourist-oriented Midtown felt exciting even for a native New Yorker. It felt thrilling to walk the city streets in a new way- not so much the hurried, annoyed way we New Yorkers tend to travel but rather the all-absorbing, adventurous pace of one experiencing something new and unanticipated.
As for the technicalities, Mission:Confidential succeeds in creating a believable, intriguing plot with lots of fun characters. I’d love to see Mission: Confidential become even more intricately designed, especially if it wants to involve every member of a group of ten feel invested in the crime. But that also requires having an audience who’ll keep up the pace.
For more information and tickets:Mission Confidential