The Murder Express, Funicular Productions

Murdér in France seemed like the perfect location for a getaway from the big smoke and with the newly launched luxury train service running direct from Pedley Street Station in East London I decided a weekend away was just what the doctor ordered.

*Disclaimer: Our journey/meal on The Murder Express was free in exchange for blogging about my experience. The below opinions are still my own and not influenced by this in any way.

From £53 each way the plush new Murder Express experience offers you a relaxed journey over a delicious three course meal devised by none other than MasterChef finalists, Billy and Jack. There’s even the Seven Sins platform bar where you can grab a cocktail or two from their delicious menu – my favourite being the conductor, a refreshing blend of vodka, elderflower and prosecco with a touch of lemon – before departure if you’re eager to make the trip last that little bit longer.

My fellow passengers were a little peculiar to say the least but to be honest once the first course arrived in front of me I tuned out of the hubbub they were making. My mulligatawny soup served with an open faced cucumber sandwich was slurped down quickly and good thing too because just as I laid down my spoon there was another commotion in the carriage and one of my fellow passengers was pronounced dead on the scene!

Naturally fingers were pointed, motives discovered and accusations thrown left right and centre – who on earth would do such a thing and on such a busy journey? The train was turned around and over a main course of butler’s steak (rarer than I would have personally liked), scallop potatoes and beef stuffed savoy cabbage (absolutely divine – never thought I’d say that about cabbage) with a generous helping of gravy, the other passengers and I had a chance to interact with those most highly suspected and to try to glean as much information as possible.

Ever the professionals even in a crisis the waitstaff continued to serve us the dessert which we were entitled to, apple tart with clotted cream a la Lady Portarlington. Any of you who know me will know that I am NOT a fruit for dessert person although this dish did gain an extra brownie point by at least being served cold although to be fair with everything else that was going on around me at the time dessert was the least of my worries. I was scared for my life with a murderer on board!

Obviously this wasn’t a real train journey otherwise I’m not sure I’d be allowed to post about it on the internet as someone would likely be facing a murder charge for their involvement – instead I took part in the latest immersive experience from Funicular Productions; The Murder Express. The team behind which have rather impressively transformed an archway beneath some train tracks into not only a station waiting area but also a full size steam train that houses ten good sized booths for diners to recline in. A clever use of technology really gives the impression that you are making your way through the countryside en route to your destination.

With limited room the cast list isn’t huge but there’s enough suspects for you to be left pondering as to who the murderer is and for immersive theatre there isn’t a huge amount of audience participation although each table does get to interrogate all of the characters at least once each. There’s no dress code but dressing up in your best 1920s gear is likely to garner you some appreciation from the cast and crew.

Drinks purchased at the bar may be brought on board and tap water is provided at the table. It’s worth noting that once in your seat only wine and prosecco can be ordered with your meal and there is strictly no exit so make sure you nip to the loo before boarding.

While the experience didn’t quite live up to the insanity of Gingerline and there were a few teething problems with drinks orders during the show it won’t take long for this production to become a well oiled machine (I believe we were only their third audience).

The only thing left to tell you is of course whodunnit but if you want to know that, you’ll have to grab a ticket for yourself – there are four sittings a day 1pm, 3:30pm, 6pm or 8:30pm and tickets are available to purchase here. Huge thanks to Love Popups London as always for arranging.

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