The instruction was: meet at Crouch End Clock Tower with specific items to hand. At the signalled time, we pressed play on our .mp3 player and we entered Hall, a breath-taking new production by 19;29. Disclosing the secret location won't spoil anything - indeed, we may only increase interest - so we're happy to tell you that the intricately detailed audio guide takes you to Hornsey Town Hall, into the psyche of this grand, haughty 1930s Modernist building, empty since the 1980s.
Each audience member has an audio guide and an entry time; Hall is very much an individual experience. The audio guide instructions must be strictly followed, and intriguing tips are mixed in ("don't let him see you... stay absolutely quiet"), lending narrative intrigue and mystery to the experience. There's a formal council meeting, bursts of violence, a rotten banquet and a piano concert. There's a room that doesn't appear on the plans but is definitely in the building. The slippery, dream-like feel to Hall alternates between threatening and romantic. Credit must be given to the enormous amount of planning and to-the-second synchronisation of cues, audio guides and action - how it's all done part of the wonderful mystery.
It is VERY important to have as full power in your .mp3 player, at least an hour of continuous play. Though there are contingencies for player failures, nothing can repair the broken spell if you have to scrabble around in the dark trying to make a dead iPod come back to life, while the story continues without you. Once you're charged up and in the building, do not press pause, do not skip backward or forward. Just do as your told; enter Hall to find out the importance of obedience and the consequences of not following the rules.
Hall by 19;29 at Hornsey Town Hall. For more information and to book a place, go to the 19;29 website.