Meet a ma­gi­cian who wants you to make good on that es­cape at Clue Ad­ven­tures near Lime­house

A mad­man has threat­ened to sink Lon­don un­less two peo­ple can solve his rid­dle. Laura En­field en­ters the room

The Wharf - - Front Page - Go to cluead­ven­tures.com for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

Paul An­drews used to spend his days bam­boo­zling celebri­ties with his magic tricks.

But the 47-year-old ma­gi­cian has turned his tal­ent for il­lu­sion to the grow­ing mar­ket for es­cape games. His com­pany, Clue Ad­ven­tures, re­cently launched Lon­don’s first game for two play­ers, Two Tick­ets Two

Ride for £35pp. Set un­der rail­way arches be­tween Lime­house and Mile End, it was in­spired by the over­ground rum­bling above and the Eliz­a­beth line, set to start run­ning in De­cem­ber 2018, be­low.

“Ev­ery­thing in the game is pegged on real life or pop­u­lar fic­tion,” said Paul, who was also in­flu­enced by movies Die Hard With A Vengeance and The Tak­ing of Pel­ham 123.

“And ev­ery­thing should feed into the story and link back to stuff you found out ear­lier, just like a good film.”

De­signed from scratch in two small rooms, the game gives vis­i­tors an hour to solve a series of puz­zles and pre­vent a mad­man from blow­ing up the Lon­don Un­der­ground.

But rather than re­ly­ing on flashy spe­cial ef­fects or il­lu­sions, it aims to make a deeper con­nec­tion.

“En­ter­tain­ment is all about chang­ing some­one’s mood, al­ter­ing their emo­tional state,” said Paul, who moved from Sur­rey to Lon­don at the age of 18 to per­form magic at Ham­leys.” That’s what I loved about magic. I wanted to bring the psy­chol­ogy of magic to an es­cape room.”

His for­mer ca­reer saw him work along­side the likes of Diana Rigg and Stephen Fry and per­form for celebri­ties, of­ten with­out re­al­is­ing.

“I did an en­tire gig once for An­nie Len­nox with­out know­ing it was her,” said Paul, who also worked on tele­vi­sion shows such as Tricky TV, pre­sented by his best friend Stephen Mul­h­ern and Mind Games, filmed in Ca­nary Wharf.

He left the in­dus­try two years ago af­ter notic­ing a burgeoning trend for es­cape games.

“It is the fastest grow­ing ac­tiv­ity in the world, with 850 in the UK alone,” said Paul. “I love be­ing cre­ative and tele­vi­sion has turned into a bit of a sausage fac­tory.

“These games can be any­thing I dream up and they get peo­ple away from their phones and be­ing in front of the telly.”

He launched Clue Ad­ven­tures in Septem­ber last year with mul­ti­player game, Book of Se­crets, which has been played 2,000 times so far and en­joys rave re­views on TripAd­vi­sor.

Paul said the se­cret to his suc­cess was start­ing with a be­liev­able story.

“I have played lots of games that don’t make sense – elec­tric key­pads in a pyra­mid, in a game that’s not set in the fu­ture,” he said. “In ours, the story is the most im­por­tant thing. I write that first and then we de­sign the puz­zles and jig­gle ev­ery­thing around un­til the two fit.” So is he an ex­pert at play­ing them him­self? “No, I’m rub­bish be­cause I’m al­ways look­ing at how they are built,” he said.

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