This production has a very clever whodunit con game premise. It is part of the La Jolla Playhouse’s ambitious Without Walls series. Accomplice is evidence (pun intended) of a pleasing and growing trend of site specific and interactive productions. While being far more subtle than Tony and Tina’s Wedding but not as family-centric as the treasure hunts by in the Museum of Natural History, Accomplice makes use of Little Italy’s sights, sounds, location, characters and milieu in very witty fashion.
The day before your performance, you get a call from a restricted number, telling you where to meet. On the street corner with your fellow travelers you mingle, wondering what’s next. Soon a guy strolls up, looking about furtively, ensures we’re the folks he wants to meet and leads the group to a hotel. Up into a room we all follow, where he sets the stage. Essentially, we are to deliver plane tickets to four other accomplices. Hints, clues, map fragments and puzzles ensue as we traverse Little Italy. As we encounter the actors, we also have a heightened sense of the rest of the people on the street, the folks we ordinarily ignore.
Accomplice is hard to describe without spoiling the production. Nonetheless, one gets a delightful tour of San Diego’s Little Italy. As familiar as Little Italy may be, one sees it through fresh eyes. Our family had a similar reaction when we took the Beatles Walking Tour in London; the journey was as much fun as each of the Fab Four destinations.
Accomplice has been produced in NYC, London and LA. It was originally created by Tom Salamon and his sister Betsy Salamon-Sufott in April 2005. Word quickly spread about this captivating theatre experience and shows began to sell out months in advance. La Jolla Playhouse veteran Neil Patrick Harris attended the show, and donned his producer’s hat to bring it to the other cities.
A great way to experience Accomplice is to assemble a group of 8 or 10 like-minded friends, and then ensure that collaboration among the group is encouraged (to preclude any A-types from commandeering the clues and hence all the fun). The mile or so you walk is really no effort, and it is easy to land at a nearby trattoria to discuss the evening’s festivities.