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Walking Shadow lets puzzles reign

Emma Gochberg and Bruce Abas

Emma Gochberg and Bruce Abas

​I love puzzles and games. My shelves are full of miniatures, collectible cards, complex board games with elder gods on the cover, and enough video games to keep me busy for years to come. So a show like Walking Shadow Theatre Company's Saboteur--a theatrical show with interactive puzzles to boot--hits my sweet spot perfectly.

I don't want to give much away about the piece, especially the puzzles, but here's a quick overview: You and a small crew of other visitors (the maximum is about 15) head to the offices of Universal Hydro Solutions (there's plenty, I mean plenty, of water available) in northeast Minneapolis. There, it is revealed that you are, in fact, all sleeper agents and are assigned various tasks to uncover the secrets of the place.

[jump] The puzzles themselves aren't too tough to figure out, but several of them require teamwork to complete so there are plenty of chances to work together. If you've played any puzzle-orientated video games in the last couple of decades then you will recognize what's up, but solving them still takes a bit of thought, and completing the tasks makes for some real satisfying moments.

While it may sound a bit like some team-building excursion developed for a faceless corporation, it's all a lot of fun and quickly paced. That (formerly) complete strangers take time afterwards to chat about the experience in the parking lot is just a bit of icing on the cake.

There's a story in addition to playing along with the puzzles involving a love affair among the spies. According to the notes provided after the piece, the company uses Richard Sheridan's The Rivals (loosely, very loosely really) as inspiration. Though the audience is part of the action, you don't have to participate in any of this. We're just luckless sleepers activated in a mad plan by our handlers.

Saboteur runs through the rest of July, with plenty of performances. Be warned that there's no walk-up sales of tickets. Reservations need to be made and paid online