Punchdrunk, Stella Artois and a number of invitees make a hell of a house party.
The Black Diamond is a Stella Artois Black promotion, using Punchdrunk's total immersion theatre tactics to embed the beverage in a film noir adventure, part live immersive event, part film, part online game. This is a Punchdrunk live action film noir set to a 1960s soundtrack, with beer. Think Hitchcockian plot twists, fiendish riddles, red herrings, plentiful props, planted actors and alternative realities. Despite our sense of gatecrashing a party full of strangers and all the attendant awkwardness, it was a rich enough experience to make us want to see through the adventure, and find out where that diamond went...
Scene one of The Black Diamond - the introductory, immersive live event which sees ticket holders attend Jaques' surprise house party for girlfriend Cecile - is spread across two floors of a pimped out Shoreditch office, with a groovy Austin Powers' soundtrack. A fully staffed bar dispensing nothing but Stella Artois Black makes a small ripple in the fabric of Jacques' world but still the scene feels authentic. It's like a house party full of friends of friends - no one knows anyone else, or how to behave when planted actors reveal their secrets or engage in magic tricks. Everyone is eventually unified and engaged in the adventure when ushered outside for the ending: a proposal, a theft and an almighty cliffhanger to be resolved in scenes two to seven.
Scenes two to seven are more mysterious than intended - booking doesn't open until 10 July, and it's puzzling how enjoyable or gripping the second half of The Black Diamond may be without scene one. The party, the drinks, the very fully realised world of Cecile and Jacques is a fantastic introduction to the story and gripping because of the collective, real time, real space involvement of the audience. Joining in at scene two could well feel like you really missed the party. Sadly, scene one tickets are sold out but if you're keen to see what happens next, put 10th July in your diary as the date to visit The Black Diamond website, and find out for yourself.
Londonist attended The Black Diamond at the invitation of Threepipe Digital and Social Media