MI6 spies are being sent to watch an Agatha Christie play then tested on the plot to improve their memories, as new recruits are used to Googling things they can’t remember.
The Secret Intelligence Service feared some its brightest talent was suffering from “digital amnesia” – being accustomed to easily finding answers to problems using smartphones.
Its innovative solution is to take them on a trip to the theatre to watch legendary crime writer Agatha Christie‘s latest whodunit The Mousetrap then test them on what they see.
Plain clothes agents attend matinee performances before being quizzed twice on the play, The Sunday Express report.
The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running show and has been performed in 27 different languages in more than 50 countries across the globe.
With a cast including Mathew Foster and Russell Floyd, the West End production follows eight characters stranded together in a remote countryside guesthouse who find out there is a murderer in their midst.
One by one the characters’ stories unravel and the killer’s identity is finally revealed. It is described as an “irresistible treat for amateur sleuths”.
Tough questions are put to the MI6 recruits on the plot twists and the most intricate details about the production the same day they have seen it, then they are ordered to recreate the play without notice a few weeks later.
This latest initiative is among a selection of measures being introduced by the Secret Intelligence Service to bolster the mental dexterity of their employees.
Another exercise reportedly involves recruits keeping a close eye on a street while their colleagues walk amongst the crowds carrying certain objects or wearing particular clothing.
They are then asked questions about what they saw, such as how many mobile phone covers they spotted and what colours they were.
A source from MI6 told The Sunday Express: “We recruit the brightest and the best from all walks of life. But the issue of over-reliance on technology is something we have become increasingly aware of.
“The reality of our work is that many officers operate alone, in situations where all they have to rely upon is their mental agility, guile and training.”
It was announced in April that Alex Younger would remain the head of MI6 for at least another year to maintain stability in the intelligence services during the Brexit process.
This means he is the longest serving MI6 chief for 50 years.
Mr Younger is credited with restoring morale at the organisation after the restructuring undertaken by his predecessor Sir John Sawers, which resulted in significant numbers of senior officers leaving the service.