Disclaimer: I was invited to review the below experience and our tickets were complimentary but all opinions are solely mine.
In my forever quest to find new and exciting things to do in London, I stumbled upon Funicular Productions on Instagram and knew I had to visit. Their concept is everything I look for when it comes to immersive theatre dining experiences.
Their latest production is The Jewel of the Empire, a sequel to a previous production held on board The Murdér Express. The location is Pedley Street Station – a converted railway arch near Bethnal Green.
Tickets have to be purchased in advance of the show and includes a two hour performance alongside a four course bespoke menu designed by Masterchef The Professionals 2018 Winner – Laurence Henry.
After a quick and smooth check-in, we are led to the Seven Sins Platform Bar where you can buy a cocktail or two and mingle with the rest of the guests or your co-passengers. Drinks are not included in the ticket price but are very reasonably priced with beers starting from £4.80, large wines from £5 and cocktails from £9.50. Not just quantity, but they excel on the quality too. There is a showreel running in the background to build up the context of the story and we start to see a few characters making brief appearances and even chatting to us!
Soon, you are summoned with a sound of a bell to come on board The Murdér Express and take your seats which are pre-allocated.
Inside it is tastefully decorated with eight booths seating about six to eight people each. The banquettes are quite plush and you do feel the subtle motion of sitting on board a moving train.
The food menu has been designed by BBC Masterchef The Professionals 2018 winner Laurence Henry and is a three course gastronomic extravaganza which includes:
Cherry Tomato Gazpacho Jelly, Sourdough, Aged Balsamic
Asparagus Veloute & Turned Spears, Puffed Wild Rice, Citrus Dressing
Corn Fed Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Sundried Tomatoes & Fine Herbs, Black Garlic, Crushed Jersey Royal Potatoes, Peas & Watercress
Terrine of Grilled Summer Vegetables, Nasturtium Pesto, Crushed Jersey Royal Potatoes, Peas & Watercress (v)
Strawberry & White Chocolate Jewel
The food was stylishly presented and delicious overall. Highlights for me were the chicken with its various elements and the dessert – a really smooth and light panna cotta with freeze dried fruit to add texture. During the meal, you have the option of ordering more drinks from the bar from the comfort of your own booth.
In terms of the storyline, without giving away too much detail so as not to spoil the surprise, it is a classic whodunit story of robbery and murder on board a train, set in the 1930s. There is some audience interaction and participation but mostly you watch the actors perform whilst you enjoy the multiple courses of delicious food. The production is well-paced with enough humour, drama and shady characters to keep you intrigued and entertained. The cast are energetic and engaging and the staff serve with efficiency and smiles without interrupting the momentum of the show.
Overall, we had a really fun and enjoyable evening. Due to the size of the booths, you are expected to be seated in a group, so if you don’t like the company of strangers, its best to bring a group yourself. This could be a great idea for a fun double date night or a celebratory evening with friends. If you like your dining with a twist, I totally recommend this experience.
Location : Pedley Street Station, 63 Pedley St, London E1 5BW
Nearest station : Bethnal Green Underground