Review: The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure – A Virtual Interactive Play, Sight Lines Entertainment (Singapore)

The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure is a 90-minute whodunnit mystery play that really takes the theatre experience to a totally different dimension. Think 360-degree scene shots, interactive features and navigation, as well as detective work culminating in the nomination of a suspect. I watch plays and musicals quite a bit, so this format of delivery was very fresh to me. The play was filmed entirely on the grounds of Raffles Hotel, one of the most opulent hotels in Singapore. If you solve the mystery correctly, you get a $10 e-voucher (no minimum spend) to use at Raffles Boutique and also stand a chance to win a night’s stay in the hotel’s Presidential Suite (omg)!

Marketing photo of The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure theatre play's main cast in Raffles Hotel
Photo credit: The Future Stage

The play’s main plot is a forbidden love story between a rich man’s daughter and a penniless piano man, with other characters’ side stories weaving in and out. During an exhibition, the crown jewel goes missing and all the characters become suspects with probable motives. The style of the play reminded me of the movie, Knives Out (if you enjoy intelligent mysteries with turns and twists, you gotta check this movie out), albeit a shortened version with a little less plot and character development.

Before starting, my husband and I had to ensure that our internet connection wasn’t wonky as we could only watch the play once. If we disconnect or the computer hangs, the system will consider our ticket expired and we would have to contact SISTIC ticketing to reverse this. As with all our escape room experiences, we shifted into full competitive mode and even whipped out a notebook and a pen to take down important details from the play (which we eventually realized was not much help).

Behind-the-scenes photo of some cast members and film crew on the Raffles Hotel set of The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure theatre play
Photo credit: The Future Stage

In the introduction, the audience is invited by the iconic liveried Raffles Doorman to help identify who might’ve stolen the crown jewel of the exhibition. We are then shown a virtual map with time stamps at various locations within the hotel. Clicking on these locations rolls a short video snippet of what occurred there. As the audience slowly unfolds the sequence of events leading up to the theft of the treasure, interspersed with flashbacks to events in the past, they are then asked to identify who the thief might be.

We were stuck at this part of pinpointing the thief for a good 15 minutes as we ran through every possibility, scenario and motive. I was ready to throw in the towel as I felt we didn’t have enough information to sufficiently narrow down the suspect list. But my husband, being the intuitive connection-creater and problem-solver (his designated role in all our escape room experiences) came up with a plausible hypothesis. Lo and behold, his hypothesis completely matched the explanation given by the culprit!

Headshots of the main cast of The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure theatre play
Photo credit: Bakchormeeboy

There were some strengths and weaknesses in this production. I thought the use of 360-degree cameras to fully capture the environment as the actors flesh out the scenes was rather innovative. It allowed us to click and drag the scenes to explore and take in the grandeur of Raffles Hotel. Also, most of the cast delivered a spectacular performance (especially the theatre veterans), with some more convincing than others. Siti Khalijah, as usual, never fails to impress ❤

Unfortunately, there seemed to be some teething issues with the use of the 360-degree cameras. Scenes shot with these cameras had a grainy, pixelated resolution, resulting in poor viewing quality. For some scenes, you can actually see the camera stand if you clicked and dragged to the bottom, impacting the immersiveness of the play. Kinda like if you were watching a film and you saw the boom microphone enter the shot from the top (yikes). Another glaring issue was the costume quality. It felt as though the costume department was left with a measly portion of the budget because the clothes and wigs looked like thrift shop material. Some weren’t even properly fitted for the actors (this was exceptionally obvious in the scene where Audrey danced with Dwayne in a dress that bulged in all the wrong places).

Audrey Luo in character in one of the scenes from The Curious Case Of The Missing Peranakan Treasure theatre play
Photo credit: Crispian Chan

My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. I loved the concept of an interactive mystery play (with absolutely no need for a horror element, might I emphasize) where audiences are drawn in to participate instead of being passive observers. Given how my husband and I are die-hard fans of escape games and puzzles, we knew we had to give this a go! Cast performance was mostly of substantial calibre given the wealth of experience under some of their belts. However, it had a slight “budget” feel to it due to the low resolution of the 360-degree camera scenes and the less-than-ideal quality of the costumes. With that said, it did feel like their first foray into this virtual style and format of entertainment (probably from pressure brought on by the covid situation) so I’m hoping things only go uphill from here (: Looking forward to similar types of experiences with a more fleshed out storyline, character development and better production quality!

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