Online, Jul 2020
For all my escape room addiction, there are few games that I’d play at 7am on a Sunday morning; and the arch, risqué story of Miss Jezebel makes it much better suited for a Friday night. But it had been recommended strongly enough that I was going to find a way to play it by hook or by crook, and with players and game split across three continents and four timezones, the early option was the only one that worked.
Our host wasted no time in setting the scene: he was a detective on the trail of a dangerous black widow, and he was now about to venture into her home on the pretext of a Tinder date. Naturally, he needs your help to guide him through this perilous situation – and this involves not just prompting him where to look and helping him solve puzzles, but also guiding him in his interactions with the eponymous Miss Jezebel.
That’s because this is an actor-led game, where the challenges are as much working out how to handle your flamboyant, vampish quarry as they are opening any locks. In fact I’d describe this as being as much an interactive theatre experience as an escape room, doubly so in this remote livestream version where you have both Miss Jezebel and also your guide, the nervous, strait-laced and out of his depth detective, who plays a role much more rounded and interesting than a simple avatar and who makes an excellent foil for Jezebel’s flirtations.
Since a lot of the game time involves interactions between the characters (and is all the better for that), there are somewhat fewer ‘normal’ puzzles than you’d find in a different game, but the pure escape room elements range from solid to imaginatively wacky and didn’t leave me feeling there was a shortage of puzzles. Still, the appeal of this game is in the actor interaction. Interactive theatre is not to everyone’s tastes, and involves a different and more social type of quick thinking, but for me it lifts Miss Jezebel to a different level. How this experience unfolds depends on your actions and your choices, and the actors roll with your suggestions with unscripted, whip-smart replies. I suspect no two games are quite the same.
I’ve played a variety of ‘adult’ themed escape rooms, and broadly they play like any other escape room, just with naughtier props and decorations. Jezebel is more ambitious, something like your own personalised mini Rocky Horror show. It doesn’t hesitate to stoop to gleefully smutty puns, but mixes in surreal humour and outrageous farce. It’s a delightful mix of puzzles with high camp, and well worth playing even if you need to book for an ungodly hour to do so.