The latest to-do from escape room entrepreneurs BuckBuck Games, Hunt For Smoking Caterpillar is a Wonderland-set whirlwind that sets you on the trail of titular caterpillar, Russell, a creature desired for his ability to, ahem, excrete gold. Held at The Owl & Hitchhiker - a pub that takes its name from two mavens of the bizarre and fantastical, Edward ‘Owl & The Pussycat’ Lear and Douglas ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ Adams - its location is more than appropriate.
In this particular Wonderland, capitalism is king, but it’s up to you to mess up the system. Collect all the ‘golds’ you can and use your wealth to beg, bargain and blackmail characters - and fellow teams - for more gold and more clues towards finding Russell. There’s the Baron, the White Rabbit, the alchemist, the idiot and the mute beauty queen, and you’ll need to be on the right side of all if you hope to find the golden-bowled grub.
The Baron starts by giving out the odds. In a harsh but not entirely unfair assessment of our team we’re valued at 1/1000. And in truth, it is a slow start for Team 'Here For A Long Time Not A Good Time' because we have to wait for The Baron to write our name down before we can start.
Over the next hour we’re dealt all manner of tasks, challenges, side quests and puzzles. Some lead to gold, some lead to more clues, some lead to you parading around in a large blonde wig looking like a bit of a tit - but that’s only to be expected from an experience that has made reference to a caterpillar's ‘tiny anus’ before the game is even afoot.
Intriguing, interactive and, to be perfectly frank, completely insane, this quirky escape room will test your brain power as much as your ability to keep a straight face.
Drink Me & Play: Hunt For The Smoking Caterpillar takes place on various dates until May 2019 at The Owl & Hitchhiker pub, 471 Holloway Road, London, N7 6LE. Tickets start from £25 pp.