Still home preparing for my journey, I forced myself to watch the video I received in an email. I looked in horror as poor Delilah, bag over her head and facing the ground, squirmed in anguish. “Oklahoma!” played and I didn’t even move to the beat. I couldn’t. A voice, altered a la “Saw,” explained that Delilah had been kidnapped and that she might be released—but only under certain conditions. Not one to be judged a sucker, I knew I would do whatever I could to help secure her freedom.
And thus I took on “Accomplice.”
So the video is a bit dramatic. What followed was more laughs than gasps of horror.
“Accomplice is a New York City scavenger-hunt-detective-adventure-walking-tour now in its tenth year. There are two major tours. I took The Village. (The longer New York tour doesn’t start until less frigid April.) For visitors and New Yorkers alike, “Accomplice” offers a unique way to visit (or revisit) the city.
Rediscovering NYC with "Accomplice" was a blast.
This past Saturday, for two hours and change in 18-degree weather, a friend and I joined four visitors from North Carolina to follow clues that took us to random spots in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village to ultimately save our damsel in distress; who was being tortured with show tunes. So as not to ruin the fun, I won’t divulge too much information about the journey. The stops included everything from a street lined with old New York townhomes to a racy bar with dim red lighting. There are also drinks involved. One of the characters—an overmedicated love-starved emotional roller coaster—offered my team punch-packing cappuccinos, likely popular with stressed-out NYU undergrads. Quite yummy.
We got some clues along the way to save our damnsel in distress.
The quick-witted improv actors were the biggest treat. Some of the jokes were so on-point that I was sure at least some of the North Carolinians were part of the act.
There was a lot of suspicion among my group about which of us six was in on the act. The people we met at the tour’s various locales also kept us confused about whether or not they were actors. The uncertainty adds to the fun.
“If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, it’s definitely a must-do if you’re in New York,” said Matt, 34, a boisterous guy, who strutted around the entire mission with his face covered in black cloth and may or may not have been part of the team.
Doogie Howser’s Neil Patrick Harris loved his “Accomplice” walking tour so much—“It’s the most exciting time,” he said on Regis and Kelly—that he teamed up with sibling creators Betsy Salamon Sufott and Tom Salamon to make an L.A. version of this detective city game. A London version also had a run. Boasting over 75,000 participants, Betsy told me the team is developing a version for children and another for bachelorette parties. The team also does custom shows, like one upcoming fiftieth birthday celebration, in which the birthday girl’s relatives from Miami and South America appear unexpectedly in unconventional places.“People love the element of unexpected surprises that we build into these experiences,” Betsy, 50, added.
Thinking of giving your own “Accomplice” experience a go? Since it’s interactive theater, the best advice is to interact as much as possible with the actors (at least those you think are actors.) If you decide to do the Village tour, Delilah’s freedom may depend on it.