Video & Review: The Showroom interactive sci-fi murder mystery
Take a video tour of THE SHOWROOM, where shoppers go in but they don’t come out.
The Showroom is the latest interactive production from Last Call Theatre, which previously gave us Abandoned – one of our favorite immersive theatrical productions – and Signals. Like the latter, The Showroom is set in the SCP Universe, a collaborative online writing project featuring a mysterious organization known as the Foundation, which “Secures, Contains & Protects” anomalous phenomena known as “SCPs,” including humanoid mutants.
The science-fiction murder mystery immerses audiences inside the titular Showroom, an Infinite Ikea store where the residents are trapped but relatively safe from mutants lurking outside (designated SCP-2s or “Dash 2s” for short), who take the form of faceless Ikea employees with a taste for human flesh and blood.
The delicate balance of this precarious situation is upset when a murder takes place inside the store itself, and the body goes missing after the perpetrator is captured and confined. The killer turns out to be a new form of mutation, an SCP-3 completely indistinguishable from normal humans, and the working assumption is that the accomplice who disposed of the body must also be a Dash-3.
This means that any of the inhabitants could be another blood-thirsty mutant, biding his or her time until striking again. Having arrived after the crime, audience members are the only shoppers above suspicion, so they are tasked with following clues in order to solve the mystery and, hopefully, find a way out of the store.
Having seen Signals is not a requirement to enjoy The Showroom, but there is a shared back story, along with occasional references (the fish-headed SCP from Signals known as “Mr. Fish” is referenced several times).
For the benefit of the uninitiated – and for anyone who needs a refresher course – we offer a video tour of the Infinite Ikea, which should tell you everything you need to know before going on a shopping spree inside The Showroom.…
The Showroom Review
1 – Avoid
2 – Not recommended but not all bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
The Showroom offers a clever twist on the whodunit: the murder is solved before the story starts, the killer identified and confined after being caught in the act. The real mystery is who stole the body – and why?
It’s not giving anything away to suggest that the answer probably has something to do with the new breed of anomalous humanoids known as SCP-3s, who are indistinguishable from normal human beings – and very dangerous.
The result is a fun-filled interactive experience, loaded with great performances. The stand out is Abiane Stoebel as Wren, the mousey SCP security agent, who seems comically unsuited to handling the dire circumstances.
On the downside, the mystery wanes midway, thanks to the fact that the audience cannot truly trust anyone, and the clues don’t always pan out. Fortunately, the characters gather everyone together at regular intervals to pool information, which slowpokes back up to speed. However, this is a double-edged sword, letting audience members know that everything will be periodically explained, which may encourage less ambitious armchair detectives to sit back and wait for the solution to be hand-delivered.
This would be a mistake. As is always the case with interactive theatre, particularly of the variety that Last Call Theatre provides, what one gets out of it depends on what one puts into it. Those who throw themselves headlong into solving the mystery will find their efforts amply rewarded.
Regardless of whether you are a Holmes or a Watson, The Showroom‘s finale pays off with big surprises, shocking developments, and a rousing climax that will make your shopping spree feel like a bargain hunter’s dream – if your dream is shopping for paranormal phenomena inside the Infinite Ikea.
The Showroom runs through March 5 at 5740 Vantage Avenue in North Hollywood (a private residence, so don’t go there outside of showtimes), with performances starting at 8pm. Tickets are available here: lastcalltheatre.ticketleap.com.
Cast: Ashely Kim as Iris, Audra Magness as Robyin Sloane, Abiane Strobel as Wren Montgomery, Mikey Takla as Izzy, Brit Baltazar as Dr. W, James Bilinsky as Edgar Vaughn, Riley Cole as Cam, Michael DiNardo as Joe Williams.
Crew: Jason Pollack (writer-producer-director), Michaela Skaribas (writer-director-producer), Court Rhodes (stage manager), Nicholas May (production design), Kale Hinthorn (costume design), Jesse Brindze (graphic design), Ashely Busenlener (marketing and PR), Shoshanna Green (fight coreographer), Grace Power (intimacy coodinator).
Showroom production photos by Charly Charney-Cohen, other photography by Steve Biodrowski