Review: The Mermaid's Tongue, Swamp Motel
5.0Overall Score

Is there anything better to do on a mellow autumn evening than to participate in an online life drawing class? Immersive theatre company Swamp Motel invites us to do just that. We start our journey at True Colours Online Drawing Classes equipped with a pencil and paper. But are things really as they seem? Is it really the life drawing class we are here for? Or are we actually looking to find something other than just our artistic skills – The Mermaid’s Tongue perhaps?

The Mermaid’s Tongue is a clever immersive online detective game delivering adrenaline and excitement. Through a well-designed online system, we get to go on the hunt for an ancient weapon that could, in the wrong hands, endanger the existence of humanity as we know it. The Mermaid’s Tongue stimulates a wide range of skill and encourages us to listen to our instinct. It is wonderfully challenging for any Sherlock Holmes fans out there.

But it is not Sherlock Holmes that I would compare the immersive game to. We are much more entangled in the chain of events and quickly realise that is it up to us to finish the work of a fellow art student: Katherine Stewart was found murdered prior to the start of our life drawing class, and she has left notes, requests and a mission for us to fulfil.

We get to go on the chase for codewords, CCTV footage, and even dive deep into Katherine’s paintings to find answers. And the answers are where we least expect them, which more than anything delivers the thrill of the chase. Our best friends on our mission are Katherine’s archives, Google and even our own phones. Anybody playing the game should come equipped with the above – good technology, a sturdy internet connection and a mobile phone that can make calls and send texts.

The Mermaid’s Tongue is a multi-platform game that leaves any murder mystery fan wanting for nothing. And not only is the sophisticated use of modern technology at hand admirable, but also the performances within the game. Short recorded messages and ‘video calls’ move the story forwards and guide us on our hunt for the Mermaid’s Tongue. Codewords trigger the next segment and passwords must be uncovered, but do not worry, if you are ever lost you can rest assured that somebody will have listened in and might be able to help you. Help you – or betray you?

Swamp Motel’s The Mermaid’s Tongue is set in the same universe as their previous immersive whodunnit Plymouth Point and is good (socially-distanced) fun for groups of two to six people. The clever way in which the story and the performances unfold on the screen is something that is definitely worth engaging in.

The Mermaid’s Tongue is playing online until November 2020. For more information and tickets visit The Mermaid’s Tongue online.