The Human Torch is an interactive street theatre and dining experience hosted by Sydney Interactive Theatre. This is where you get to become involved in a street theatre performance, with groups of up to 20 people. Going with the flow is the aim of the game. Upon booking a spot for this fun activity, the entire booking program was seamless. There are four different time slots to choose from, and you receive a text message the day prior of the meeting details. This activity runs on the first three Saturday evenings of every calendar month, irrespective of the weather.
I was invited to attend the 6:15pm group on Saturday the 15th of March 2014. The text message I received the day before was rather funny. Here I was soaking in the Sydney sun, and I could not help but laugh. A humorous evening all round.
On the way to the meeting destination, it was pouring rain. My train to central station was delayed due to lightning strikes, and it was a relief to have arrived on time. All so weird, wonderful, and surreal. You sometimes question whether or not you're at the right meeting spot, yet all was well. All in all, there were 17 fun people in our group.
We're now getting the tools of the trade needed to solve this mystery
It was funny to be welcomed to this street theatre experience by Detective Skinner. It was all about solving the murder mystery of Thomas Ivory, all to locate our secret restaurant for an awesome social feed afterwards. Detective Skinner gives us the scenario. Our jobs as detectives in this case was to find out what happened to Thomas Ivory when he left the gambling site at 3pm, until he went to hospital where he died.
All about 'The Human Torch' indeed. A clipboard was going around where we all had to sign a deputising form. Detective Skinner then wanted to know whether or not he could trust us in solving this true 1920's murder mystery, with some awesome tapas and sangria awaiting us at the other end of Surry Hills somewhere. Clue: Bourke Street. Where did we start? Somewhere near Eddy Avenue. I can't tell you where, that would spoil the surprise.
Thomas Ivory's wife with blonde, curly hair on the right hand side. Our group hammers her with questions.
Detective Skinner, of who was naturally eloquently dressed for the role, provided some of us with the necessary detective gear such as a ID badge, clipboards and handcuffs, in order for us to correctly arrest the person who killed Thomas Ivory. Detective Skinner was the first of a few professional actors found in our quest to find the murderer within Surry Hills. His final remarks: "the boss wants me elsewhere, I am a busy man."
Our first clue was to find the jam tin. Turns out that we happened to find Thomas's wife there. Her acting was professional, and although she was a personable individual, it was tricky (at first) to find out whether or not she was telling the truth. Many people in our group paid for their own drink, and we discovered that Thomas had taken her name off his will before he died. We were then led to find the magistrate, who happened to change Thomas' will at the last minute where Thomas cheated his wife out of her inheritance. The wife was personally asking a couple of us why we were laughing. Simple, she was that funny.
It wasn't long, and we were led through some obscure Surry Hills lane ways, and they had rubbish everywhere. This was too surreal. A couple of people in our group made comments such as "they must have done this on purpose for us." We kept walking, only for a genius in our group to find a treasure chest with two feather pens, where we could only take one of these pens with us. This box had a message of where to go next, where we found a quirky magistrate standing outside a real courthouse. Some of us took turns in asking questions to solve this case. We were the audience, as well as the participants in this street play with excellent actors to assist us. The magistrate was also funny, and it was (once again) surreal to discover that a couple of members in our groups are lawyers; with someone else who was studying a law degree but changed to commerce, and yours truly was also a lawyer briefly before becoming an editor and writer. The law aside, we were all laughing at this. Questions such as "who is the beneficiary of the will?" were asked to the magistrate.
The next clue headed us to a park, where a preacher like man was very direct, leading us to our next clue. During this interactive play, we managed to receive the life insurance details that also posed a trick at us. We were walking right up to Denham Street, and once we reached the back of Crown Street Public School, we went a bit too far. I then said that someone was tricking us, and perhaps we were meant to (perhaps) head to Denham Lane.
This actor at the park did not waste any time with us
We double checked out paperwork, and a lovely glass of bubbly awaited us in Denham Lane. Group portraits abound. One group of friends were so pre-occupied. I said the word "guys" countless times, until we saw a hit man like character running for his life. We caught him, and asked him a few questions. Hooray, he was arrested. One lucky group member actually handcuffed the guy, and then we were directed into our mystery restaurant.
It was all so surreal, yet amazing once more. The end happened so quickly. It was weird being escorted into the restaurant from a narrow, dark kitchen to our own private lounge. With 17 people, it was a little squishy at first, yet we all got comfortable, home and hosed in a jiffy. Some beautiful bruschetta pieces came as starters, and then we enjoyed some beautiful antipasto treats such as prosciutto, zucchini flowers and chorizo sausage; to then wash it all down with an awesome glass of sangria.
The majority of our group went to karaoke afterwards, while the rest of us went our separate ways. The crazy nightlife of trendy Oxford Street was only a stone's throw away from our mystery restaurant. All in all an incredible, interactive experience. It did go too quickly. Loved the food and drinks, as well as awesome company. This experience was definitely entertaining and quirky, where we all got to utilise our brain cells for a bit, as well as keep fit by all of that amazing walking. If you don't know Surry Hills that well, you will gain an even greater appreciation of this trendy inner city suburb of Sydney. If you love orienteering type activities, this street theatre and dining experience is for you too. Worth experiencing at least once.