Con Tricks And Cocktails: The Grift At Town Hall Hotel

The Grift, Town Hall Hotel ★★★★★

By Johnny Fox Last edited 11 months ago

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Con Tricks And Cocktails: The Grift At Town Hall Hotel The Grift, Town Hall Hotel 5
© Scott Rylander 2018

Bethnal Green, right?  Where tricky City slickery rubs shoulders with East End rough: it couldn't be a more appropriate setting for Tom Salomon’s The Grift, transplanted from its site-specific debut in San Diego to the headily repurposed municipal offices that form the glitzy Town Hall Hotel.

Hard to know which you’ll enjoy more — the chance to roam all over the hotel and feel resentful you live in London and don’t have an excuse to stay there when visiting — or the fun and games of the ‘chase’ to track down and trick a nastily authentic Mr Big (Ged Forrest, you slaaaaag) in an art auction heist.

© Scott Rylander 2018

First, in your teams, you need to be trained in the art of deception, learning scams you may have seen on TV’s The Real Hustle — some of the clues that unlock the next box of instructions are fiendish, but there’s always a cast member to help you along, and solve it in the six-and-a-half-minute window of each setup.

It’s impressively well executed — some of the performances are a bit breathless and the plot based on the illegitimate offspring of Michael Caine and Marilyn Monroe is barmy — but the apparatus and the props feel authentic and anyone with a taste for puzzles or crosswords will have an absolute blast.  

© Scott Rylander 2018

Join a team, or come with friends, it doesn’t matter, you will still have a deal of fun.  And a brisk walk round a superb building while learning how a pig in a poke is directly related to a cat in a bag.  Wear flats.

The Grift, Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, E2 9NF.  Tickets £35, meal deals from £57.  Until 25 March 2018.

Last Updated 31 January 2018