BWW Review: Immerse Yourself in DCPA Off-Center's THE LAST DEFENDER
If you want to feel like you've saved the world (or at least died trying), there's a theatrical experience for you.
The Last Defender, which was conceived at The House Theatre of Chicago in 2016, feels a bit like an escape room...just more theatrical. Currently it's being presented through the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Off-Center, which has been know lately for its immersive experiences.
But this is a show where you're not going to be watching any performances, or really seeing any actors. The story is about you (and 15 others) on a mission to stop some missiles from exploding the world during the Cold War.
Of course, the plot is a little bit more detailed than that, but I won't go into details. Mainly because I can't recall most of them. They're not as important as the fun tasks you're assigned along the way.
But first, you're allotted a sweet name (I was Footloose, others included Drop Zone, Skidmark and Banzai), divided into teams (like Engineering or Intelligence) and suited up in an orange jumpsuit. At first, each team has its own separate job around the statio,a nd you should definitely explore as much as you can.
A crew of masked black rabbits are hanging around to help, and when you get something right, they clap for you, which is really exciting. Essentially, your crew of 16 is making sure a launched missile doesn't explode the country. Through several puzzles (some decently challenging), you work together to either save the world or explode trying...kinda like Armageddon.
The 90-minute adventure flies by as you work alongside teammates to solve a plethora of puzzles. Some are fairly easy to figure out...some you don't even know how to begin. That's where the rabbits are helpful.
While I've never been to an escape room, if I had to guess what one is like, this would be it. But I'm sure most escape rooms after The Last Defender will be lacking the amount of theatrics this one provided.
While my crew ended up exploding ourselves in order to save the world (even though I SWEAR I almost figured out the clock puzzle), our quick mission was nonetheless rewarding, engaging and stimulating. I can absolutely say it's been a while since I've bonded with so many strangers.
The Last Defender runs through July 28 at 1510 Blake St in Downtown Denver. Tickets are available at DenverCenter.org, where you can also find your team photo and check how you scored on the leaderboards.