Paging Walking Dead fans: An interactive theater show is encouraging participants to channel their inner Sherlock Holmes in an end-of-the-world team game-building exercise. "Trapped in a Room With a Zombie" is a "room-escape" experience, versions of which are offered in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and other cities. A version that recently opened in Detroit works like this: Up to a dozen people are ushered into a room at a downtown high-rise and locked inside for an hour alongside a bloodthirsty zombie (or at least an actor portraying one) who is chained to a wall. Every five minutes, a buzzer sounds, and the zombie is given another foot of chain, allowing the undead creature to scamper closer to its next meal. If participants don't solve a series of puzzles and riddles, the zombie "eats" everyone. Rick Broida, the Detroit show's executive producer, said it's "more 'fun scary,' than 'scary fun.'"
"Cannibalism has been outlawed in this country for a little while, so legally speaking, the zombie's not allowed to eat you or consume any portion of you," Broida said just before Audrey Poe and seven pals enter the room and do their best to avoid becoming zombie snacks. Poe "was trying to find something fun and interesting to do" for her 30th birthday; her group solved some clues, but not quickly enough to make it out "alive." "We almost got out," she said, minutes after affixing her name tag to a wall reserved for those who didn't survive. About 30% of the groups that have taken part in the Detroit show live to tell the tale. The record time so far is 58 minutes, 21 seconds. "It always comes down to a race to the finish with the zombie nipping at your heels, and everybody's trying to solve the last puzzle," Broida says. "It makes for a really exciting time."