Like Richard O’Brien to Crystal Maze the game host is just as important as the game itself. So, we are kicking off our new ‘meet the team’ interview series with an introduction to our very first maze master, Kevin Flee. Self-described as ‘kinda creepy but good with people’ when he is not busy scaring the Bejesus out of players, Kevin is a musician, actor and now a qualified yoga instructor - how very zen. Let’s get cracking shall we...
when did you get involved with Handmade Mysteries, and how much were you involved in the making of the games?
I was dragged in pretty early on after the first Lady Chastity's Reserve was opened. There was never a doubt that the character of Gabriel was meant for me. Sleazy little weirdo who is in an abusive relationship with a corpse in a cupboard? It's a role that was made for me.
Speaking of Gabriel, how was his character developed?
Gabriel was an amazing character to develop. The HMM creative team really gave me a lot of scope to be able to play with who/what Gabriel is. There's a lot of me in my portrait of Gabriel. He's everything that I need to say but just can't to your regular folk. Sarcasm and euphemism are his tools.
What are your favourite memories as a maze master so far?
Every time I've seen the look of joy on someone's face after completing what seems like an impossible task. Probably my favourite memory is when a review team came in from a popular woman's magazine. I've NEVER seen two grown woman be so petrified of a person. They literally did not want to go into the room with me. My scare game was strong.
What qualities do you think a game host needs to be epic like you?
Observation, improvisation and the ability to work under pressure. You never know what's going to happen. People can be the most unpredictable creatures in the world - put them into stressful situations, who knows what they'll do.
If you could pick anyone famous to host an escape game, who would it be?
Vincent Price. No doubt. He is the master of the macabre. His expressions and diction are amazing. I'd be almost more intrigued with what's going on behind his eyebrows than with what's happening in the game itself.
Tell us more about the new character Wynne, the host of Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop?
Wynne is a loveable idiot. Half way between an army corporal and a block of wood. Even after being abandoned by his creator, he still has so much love and joy that he keeps coming back for more and more abuse. It's fun to play someone who on the surface is just a loveable innocent but underneath there lurks a bit of trauma and darkness.
For those who have played Lady Chastity already, what can people expect in the new game?
Oh, they're two completely different experiences and if you know anything about Handmade Mysteries you'll know this - expect the unexpected. The games are so well written. The storyline is heavily intertwined and the challenges are diverse and demanding. Not for the weak of mind or stomach.
When you are not scaring the bejesus out of players, what do you do with your time?
A lot of my time is dedicated to the backend of maintaining the HMM experience. People are very heavy on the rooms and there is a constant list of repairs and improvements that need doing. On top of that we are currently building two new rooms with the addition of more in the new year.
Tell us more about your other creative pursuits?
My first love will always be music. It was my Segway into acting. I'm currently performing with two groups - The Mysterious Blues Experience and The Ghosthunters. Both very different styles of music that help me reflect different sides of my writing style.
The yoga has been a lifelong love of mine that I've recently taken a rather daring step into and decided to study to become a teacher. For a long time yoga has been almost inaccessible to people like myself who are heavier set and not natural rubber bands. I'm glad to say that this is changing and yoga is finally getting out to the people who need it.
Anything else you would like to share?
Anything can happen. The world may be made of rock and stone but we are travelling through space like intergalactic pirates. It's all about perception.
What a dude, right? Keep an eye on our blog or follow us for updates on Twitter @HM_mysteries for more interviews and chances to get into the twisted minds of the team behind Handmade Mysteries.