Today is the day the TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens hits Amazon Prime Video, with all six episodes available for you to enjoy. If you've been outside you will know that Amazon is making a big push with its marketing. I've seen more bus and road ads for Good Omens than I have for Avengers: Endgame, which should tell you something. Of course no marketing strategy is complete without some sort of weird publicity stunt, and in this case Amazon put together an Escape Room in a recreation of the angel Aziraphale's book shop.
Anyone who read the book will know that the Aziraphale is a big fan of books, and uses a second hand bookshop in the Soho area of London to store his vast collection. It's not clear where in Soho the shop is supposed to be, only that it's in an area filled with lots of other bookshops, so the recreation was put together at 19 Greek Street. For people who don't have extensive knowledge of Soho, that's right behind Foyles - another bookshop famed for its eccentric former owners.
The escape room opens to the public today and will stay open until the end of the day Sunday. The main attraction is the escape room, but once inside you can also enjoy two separate exhibits featuring themed artwork and props from the show. Of course all of this will be lost on you if you haven't read the book (or quickly binged through all six episodes), and I'm quite glad I bothered to read the story before the series came out. If I hadn't I'd probably still be stuck there sitting in the Hell-themed waiting room talking to two actors/demons doing their best to mock my intelligence and fashion sense.
The links to the series are apparent as soon as you walk through the door, and are met with a very miserable shop assistant standing behind the counter. If you're totally new to the story you'll just assume this guy is being hella rude for no reason, but book readers know that it's because Aziraphale himself behaves like this sort of caricature to prevent people from actually buying any of his books. It's an attitude the book claims is shared among London's second hand bookshop owners, so it's clearly not just Bernard Black who behaves this way.
I won't spoil anything, but the goal of the escape room is to find Agnes Nutter's Nice and Accurate Prophecies and you have various clues to help you figure out where Aziraphale has stashed the thing. It's not a very challenging task, because it's not supposed to take you longer than 15 minutes. It took me about 10 by myself, and although I got a few subtle clues from the angel in the room the whole process wasn't very difficult once you get the ball rolling.
I'll say this: the clue-laden cue cards weren't actually that useful in the grand scheme of things. They helped me get started and piece together the first couple of steps I needed to complete, but once you manage that the rest of the sequence is pretty logical. In other words don't dwell too long on the cue cards because they may just end up confusing you. Then Agnes Nutter was genuinely mad, and even her own descendants had trouble deciphering her words after centuries of study. You haven't got a hope in hell.
Apparently if you get really stuck you can pray to God for answers, because there did seem to be people watching from some other room. Some of the effects were reliant on it.
Once you get to the end you're greeted with a special message, cups of tea, and copies of Good Omens to take home. It is a bookshop, after all, and you can't leave without a book. That would be a travesty.
Just don't thank Aziraphale when you leave, unless you want to be hit with another rude response. Oh, and don't forget to checkout the weird clamped Bentley across the street that, for some reason, won't stop playing Queen's Greatest Hits.
If you hated the book, the series, or both, then you're going to hate this. So don't go. But if you do like the book (or the series, if you've had chance to watch it already), and you're close enough to central London, then it's worth checking out if you have the time. Sadly it's not sticking around forever, but the whole exhibit is open until Sunday and is free to enter. You'll have to book ahead if you want to do the escape room, though. Opening hours are also listed on the booking page.