A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend one of the newer immersive experiences in LA, Scout Expedition Co’s, THE NEST. As is true with most events that I go to, I had no frame of reference on what I was about to experience, and truth be told, I kind of like it that way. Upon arriving at the designated time, my guest and I were led to a residential neighborhood, specifically someone’s backyard, where a shed was located surrounded by a pile of boxes artistically arranged. I should have taken this as a clear indication of what I was about to experience as THE NEST is one of the most visually beautiful and heartbreakingly sad immersive experiences that I have encountered.
The story surrounding THE NEST has to do with a storage shed that belonged to the mysterious Josephine Annette Carroll. Prior to the event, you are contacted by a probate court officer who informs you that you are the closest next of kin to Josephine and you will be receiving her last will and testament. Bequeathed to you in Josephine’s storage unit which is filled to the brim with her legacy. During the hour long experience, you begin to unravel the mystery and secrets that Josephine has kept close to heart all these years.
First things first, let’s talk about the set design. Anyone that reads my reviews knows how important set design is to me. THE NEST is probably one of the best designs I have ever seen in all my immersive encounters. Though simple in nature, it’s beautifully designed with every crevice filled with antiquities, knick knacks, and personal effects from Josephine’s life. Upon entering the space, we were given a cassette player and informed that we should look for cassette tapes that will help in furthering along Josephine’s story. What I loved about discovering each of these tapes was that they correspond to the design of each aspect of Josephine’s life. In doing that, it aided in making the overall story that much more immersive and realistic.
As for the story itself, the beginning was filled with hope and joy; however, towards the end, it turns tragic. Through each tape, we get a glimpse into Josephine’s life from the time she was a child all the way through to adulthood. We learn about her dreams, her aspirations, the moment she falls in love, and the consequences of certain actions. It really becomes quite an emotional journey as it’s difficult to not become attached to Josephine. However, as I mentioned, things turn quite dark and solemn, depending on the cassettes you find. In a way, THE NEST is a choose your own adventure game with the outcome dependent upon what tapes you find and where they take you.
In terms of guidance, I really loved that we had the use of a cassette tape for the narrative of Josephine’s story. The overall experience was a mix between an escape room and a haunt (except without all the scary aspects of a haunt). There were moments that felt a bit eerie, especially since you are in such a confined space, but I assure you that no scare actors are present. Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the music that was playing. It was a mixture of soothing sounds punctuated with moments of intense musical cues that seemed to line up just perfectly to when we would find a cassette. I really believe that the music was an additional character to the story, just as the set design was.
If small, dark places make you anxious, then be forewarned that you may be a bit uncomfortable within THE NEST. There are no lights in the space except for a faulty flashlight you are given to get you through each area. I’m not someone who is claustrophobic but there were a few times where I even felt super cramped; however, this did not deter from my overall experience. Plus, some of the more closed off areas held some of the most exquisite secrets and beauty found within the storage shed.
Overall, THE NEST is a wonder to behold. The story is emotional and captivating with magnificent set design that aided in weaving the story together. In all the immersive events that I’ve done, I’ve never done anything quite like THE NEST before. I loved the addition of the cassette tapes as the main narrative in telling Josephine’s story. It was a unique way to get us engaged and it left me incredibly impressed. As of right now, THE NEST is currently sold out, but if rumors are true, they may be doing another run of the show. If so, I absolutely cannot recommend this enough and highly suggest getting tickets as soon as they go on sale because the show will sell out. To stay up-to-date with performances or to learn more about THE NEST, visit the official website www.scoutexpedition.co.