Over the weekend, something amazing happened. I went to [REDACTED] to meet up with [REDACTED], and while I was there, I [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], all the while finding out that [REDACTED] was actually [REDACTED]. Hopefully they let me talk about it.
If not, I can tell you that I finally got to see Safehouse ’77, the immersive 70s based spy show from director Nick Rheinwald-Jones and had a complete blast! It’s not often that I walk into a show completely blind as to what it is, but I walked away later that evening thinking that these folks have something special on their hands.
The premise is simple; the year is 1977 and you’re invited to the house party being thrown by Sharon. Since she doesn’t get out much, her sister Connie was in charge of the guest list, and while there, you’ll get to meet a whole host of characters. However, something else is definitely going on, as you are contacted before hand by a mysterious figured named “Daddy” who wants to recruit you into the CIA’s spy program. Who at the party is in on it? Who isn’t? Who can you trust?
The mood was set perfectly from the get-go, as after we met up with Connie, we were lead to a house that felt like we literally were stepping into the 1970s. Every inch of the house was dripping with 70s decor, and it really helped everyone get into the mood. Seriously, it was incredible. I wanted to live there, and all its 70s glory. From the wall paper, to the entertainment, and even right down to the books, everything was period appropriate, and really help get us into the time frame.
As we began to get comfortable, drinks were served and music was played, and more guests arrived. While the set up may seem long to some people, I really feel like it helped set the mood quite nicely, allowing us to get to know the world, and characters pretty well before the story really kicked into high gear. The party was rocking, and all of the interactions with characters I had were incredibly impressive. This people really did feel alive.
It wasn’t long after, after making an observation about someone’s attitude to one of the other characters, that I was whisked into the spy world. Secret phrases were uttered, and identities were confirmed. I was in.
Well, almost. Of course, like any good spy, one has to prove themselves. My contact, whom will remain nameless for now as to protect their identity (and conserve spoilers!), gave me two assignments over the course of the evening that I jumped right into. The first allowed me to test my ability to blend in to the party, all the while discretely capturing evidence scattered around the house that could, or could not, be useful later. My second had me working with another new recruit to identity a perp using photos, an audio recording, and previous evidence. While these assignments were relatively simple, they were also a lot a fun, and helped me get into the mood a little more. My only gripe of the evening was that I wish these assignments, and the choices I made from them, came into play somehow later in the evening to affect the storyline. I have no idea if I made the right decisions or not, and it would have been cool to see that either pay off nicely or bite me in the ass. But again, this is only a very minor gripe during an incredibly fun evening.
Much like Creep Los Angeles’ The Willows, Safehouse ’77 offers you a whole host of characters that have their own backstories, histories, and motives. During a single show, it would be impossible to pick up the entire story, which is absolutely fine. I was able to deduct, with my newfound spy skills), who was up to what, even if we didn’t actually have an in-depth conversation. This “re-playability” factor is always appreciated, because I could conceivably go back and have a different spin on the story, based on the characters I interact heavily with.
The characters, as mentioned, are all fantastic. I was able to spend time with pretty much everyone, and it is definitely worth pointing out how wonderful all the actors are.
Karlie Blair’s Connie helped set the stage by giving us the first taste of this world, bringing us into the party and environment overall. She was wonderful to chat with, and offered some pretty hilarious stories of her adventures. If you happen to meet her, ask her about her time at the Playboy mansion. Katie Rediger’s Sharon, our hostess for the evening, was gracious and kind, always making sure our drinks were filled and good times were had. Her slightly neurotic, but well-meaning, characteristics made the evening that much more interesting. Terence Leclere’s Lucas was clear about his issues with others at the party, but his quick-thinking and smarts helped set the stage. He really nailed the look and feel for someone straight out of the 70s, and I enjoyed all of my time with him.
Katelyn Schiller’s Sonya was quite mysterious and certainly knows how to make an entrance. While my time with her was limited, she definitely was a lively one, and someone I would definitely spend more time with if I went back to the show. Jennifer Blanco’s Carlotta and I didn’t spend much time together at all, but watching her move through out the party, sometimes with an air of coldness, was wonderful. And finally, Nick Rheinwald-Jones’ Max was someone I didn’t know how I felt about, but in the best way possible. Was he the bad person I was told? Because the sympathetic, almost broken man, I did get a chance to talk to showed a new side. Like I said earlier, who can you really trust in this story?
And speaking of story, it was definitely deftly woven. It mentions in the program that director Rheinwald-Jones has a love of spy movies, and it definitely shows in Safehouse ’77. The web of deceit woven throughout the evening between the characters is impressive. This is definitely one of those house parties were sitting on the couch, alone, won’t do you any good. Fortune favors the bold here, and you get out of it what you put in. The more you go out of your way to chat with folks, the deeper the well will go. The twists and turns were well-played, and even though I saw some things coming, there was plenty that still surprised me.
Aside from that, I don’t think I have laughed as hard than I did in this show. While some of the moments came from the script, a lot of it was improv based on things other participants were saying. Kudos especially to Karlie Blair for thinking so quick on her feet, as she was the shining star of the show for the duration of the game of “Never Have I Ever” we all played. Hell, pretty much every thing out of her mouth during the show had us rolling. Her comedic timing was amazing and spot-on.
Safehouse ’77 was a fantastic 2 and 1/2 hour experience that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys immersive theater, especially with a dash of James Bond to it. I am so glad I finally got a chance to see it, especially after missing their initial run due to illness. Hopefully this is something will run again beyond this second run. I would also love to re-visit this characters later on in their lives, too, to see how things shake out after the events of the evening.
Safehouse ’77 runs through April 1, although some dates are already sold out. I definitely recommend grabbing a ticket before they are all gone, because you won’t regret it.
For more information on the show, visit them online at: https://www.safehouse77.com
Until next time, remember that [REDACTED] was [REDACTED] and [REDACTED].