By Rachel Wagner
Last night, armed only with my smartphone and a sense of adventure, I set out on a quest.
In the hours that were to follow, I would travel through a magical portal into a glowing, technicolour world of witches, where the lines between good and evil are blurred and nothing is as it seems.
The audience met at the Wallyford Park and Ride, a thirty minute drive out of Edinburgh, before the Emerald City Shuttle Bus transported us to the magical land of Oz (otherwise known as Drummohr House in Musselburgh.)
As I alighted the bus alongside a gaggle of families (and kids at heart like me) I had no idea what was in store for us. But I soon discovered Quest for Oz is an immersive theatre and light show-cum-smart phone game, based on one of my all time favourite stories The Wizard of Oz.
Dressed in an excellent steampunk getup, Loveday, our newly promoted Bus Captain, filled us in on the quest ahead. The Witches of the East and West have waged a war and in one of their battles, a rogue spell sent the yellow brick road flying all over Oz. The munchkins are missing from Munchkinville and now it is our job to collect the bricks and rebuild the iconic pathway and help save the munchkins.
The game was played through a phone app that enabled you to scan the pictures scattered around the grounds to collect the bricks. You could also use your bricks as currency to buy things along the path. While the app was quite well designed, it felt a tad unnecessary, and the same thing could have been achieved with a pen and paper or tokens. But hey, welcome to the world of millennials!
The grounds of Drummohr House were beautifully transformed into Oz. The event runs only at night, and everything was illuminated by fairylights and massive light installations.
Our first stop of the night was to see the wizard, and from there, we followed the path through Oz to meet a whole host of characters played to perfection by the Quest for Oz cast.
We met Glinda the Good Witch in her giant bubble, Divine the beautician (I still have no idea how she fits into the story, but you can’t argue with face paints that grant magical powers!), Doctor Wonder and his witch-melting Brigadoon Water potion, and Mombi the witch.
Mombi and her cauldron full of kiddies toes were a highlight of the night and she dropped a bombshell which cast some doubts upon our quest. Is she really evil or do we all have light and shade inside us? Yep, we got all philosophical!
Far more enjoyable than the virtual game were the real life games of the night, including a maze and a ring toss to win popcorn.
By the time we made it back to the wizard, we had a woeful 100 bricks and failed to rebuild the yellow brick road. This meant a lot of our questions went unanswered. What happened to the missing munchkins? Is Mombi really evil? While the ending was a tad anticlimactic we had a fabulous time enjoying some outdoor interactive theatre in Edinburgh, all topped off with a hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Quest for Oz runs nightly until October 29th. Get your tickets here and be sure to rug up, it’s chilly out there!!