There’s been a flurry of Crystal Maze excitement this week as it was revealed a brand new immersive experience is heading to London, which means you – yes YOU – can actually play the game as if you were a contestant (yelling “To the Crystal Dome!” optional, but encouraged). So, of course, we wanted to catch up with the men behind this 90s-inspired idea to find out exactly what was going on.
Enter immersive theatre experts Tom Lionetti-Maguire, Dean Rodgers and Ben Hodges who’ve teamed up with the original creator of the show Malcolm Heyworth, presiding rights company Zodiak Rights, and (yes!) original host Richard O’Brien to re-imagine the show as a real-life London attraction.
Picture shows Richard, Tom, Dean and Ben from left to right
The idea has been a year in the making, with Tom admitting that “a lot of that year has been legal wrangles” but, as of today, the crowdfunding page has launched to get the project from blueprint to reality.
It’s been quite the journey so far. As it turns out, only the people who built the original crystal dome know how to recreate it, so they’re back in the fold to re-work their magic – and with twenty-five years of technological advancement, there’s plenty of exciting extras added in.
You don’t have to yell at the TV anymore, it’s your turn to take part, the creators enthuse. So, while we wait, here’s everything they can tell us about the new attraction, with some sneak peek pictures to boot…
Is the new attraction going to be permanent?
“The idea is we wanted to open first and foremost for two years and see how it goes. Ideally, we’d like to be open forever,” explains Tom.
When is it launching?
“We’re looking to October/November for the actual doors opening and people being able to come along and play the game themselves,” says Tom.
Will it be open every night?
“We might take Mondays off…” laughs Dean.
How is original host Richard O’Brien involved?
“Richard is very much part of our project. He is with us, as is Malcolm Heyworth who created the show originally,” explains Tom.
“Richard will be appearing by video to welcome people as they come into the maze. He feels at 73 he can’t be there every night, which is fair enough,” adds Dean.
Will Richard appear at any of the live events?
“I have no idea at the moment,” admits Tom. “We’d love him to be there obviously. There are certainly going to be some surprises in store.”
How big will the attraction be?
“In terms of scale, imagine it exactly as it was, as that’s what we’re going for,” says Tom. “The dome exactly as it was.”
How many people can play in a team?
“There’ll be four teams of eight people, with each team entering into one of each of the zones. You do all of the games in each zone then the four teams will meet in the Crystal Dome and face off.”
How long will visitors spend in the maze?
“The approximate journey is about an hour and forty five minutes. We certainly feel like people are getting a good crack at the whip,” explains Tom. “We don’t want it to feel like you turn up and then get turfed out. Part of that will be a big foyer, a crystal maze arena that you come into in the start. There’ll also be a bar and viewing platform at the end so that you can socialise and talk to your friends about the show… and watch other people making a fool of themselves in the maze.”
Will the games be the same as the TV show?
“The four traditional zones will be there. Top of the list is Aztec, of course,” says Tom. “We want to kind of marry up the nostalgia factor of the games that people loved from before, but obviously we need to put some new twists and turns and some new games to keep people on their toes.”
Can you get locked in a game, like the original show?
“Of course you can get locked in,” says Tom.
“There’s no sense playing the game if you can’t get locked in,” Dean adds, with Tom explaining: “You will be kept in a cell until your friends free you. If your friends free you.”
“We’ll have our maze masters to strongly encourage people to not leave their friends in a locked cell for an hour and a half,” Dean chuckles.
Although, Tom notes, “We are very aware – and this is a disclaimer – there will be a lot of broken friendships…”
You shared a picture of a bomber jacket. Is that the uniform visitors can expect to wear while in the attraction?
“Those are our working bomber jackets. It’s a prototype,” says Tom. “All teams will have different coloured bomber jackets.”
“Having a uniform, it is a fun part of the event,” adds Dean. “We wanted to go a bit more updated than the old jumpsuits.”
“… we might still have jumpsuits,” interjects Tom.
Will there be prizes?
“Everyone’s going to walk away with a crystal, as per the original show,” says Dean.
“We’d also like to stick to the naff prizes that were present on the 90s show,” adds Tom.
How much do you anticipate tickets will be?
“There’s a range of ticket prices,” explains Dean. “Approximately £50.” (Note that there are early bird discounts if you sign up to the mailing list or if you get involved in the crowdfunding.)
How much needs to be raised via crowdfunding?
“£500,000. We ran the numbers and we can’t make the Crystal Maze the people deserve for any less than that,” says Dean. “I know it’s an astronomical figure, but it’s what’s needed for this project to work.”