Described as an immersive/interactive gaming experience, Revolution sounded right up my street. As a big fan of immersive theatre and a HUGE boardgame and RPG geek (I have over 150 boardgames at home and a standing weekly DnD game which inhabits my Friday nights), for what more could I ask?
So first, am I strong or free? I choose strong and am sent to a group on one side of a large room. Partitioned off from the other teams, and likely some of the people you came with, someone approaches – what is the one thing you would change about society if you had the chance?
This is our starting point. Revolution has occurred and one of the three new political parties in that room will overthrow the Government. By way of political statements and radical policies, attack and defence to keep control of Boroughs of London, press conferences, the smearing of other parties, making and breaking deals, and gaining the popular vote, one team will rise up and bring London together as one once more. In that room, we hold the fate of the capital in our hands.
During the next 90 minutes, the teams must divide responsibilities, as each round brings new tasks, another battle plan, the need for policies, flags and chants. Unknowing of your teammates’ strengths, you make quick bonds, snap decisions and wild judgements in order to, hopefully, win the game.
Since this is an immersive experience, I feel I have already said too much – there is, of course, an unwritten rule about telling people what will happen in an immersive show. Aside from this, and that Revolution is extremely fun and interesting to experience for yourself (without spoilers), each and every time you play will be different.
The political views of the team with whom you are placed, the tactics of the other parties and how the other groups attack or defend their Boroughs, will all change the course of events. The joy of this, therefore, is that my experience will be completely different to yours.
Taking inspiration from Risk, Diplomacy, and Settlers of Catan, and drawing on a seemingly heightened understanding, engagement and appreciation of politics in the wake of Brexit, Trump, numerous General Elections, Cabinet reshuffles and MP scandals, this production really gets your political juices flowing. I am sure, especially in majority remain London, we all have our views on how to fix the problems we see in light of the last year or so, but how well will we do when put to the test? What are our priorities exactly? Will one policy fix it all?
Leaving the show, I questioned the social experiment side of the experience; separated from friends, did some people make pacts due to their connections with others, or were they more likely to screw each other over out of competitiveness. It would also be fascinating to see the different types of policies which people outside of London may come up with. I hope the creators, Joe Ball and Kai Oliver, are keeping records of the most radical and interesting policies, just for fun.
Fear not, those who are not game lovers. It is extremely simple to get into the swing of. There are no complicated lengthy rules. You are thrown in and you learn by doing. Those facilitating the experience guide you all and aid you where you struggle.
The only reason this did not get 5* is due to the fact that audience members make this show. I was lucky, my team were all pretty on it and had similar political ideas to me. If your team aren’t up to scratch or you disagree, perhaps it wouldn’t be quite the same.
Whoever, you are – a gamer, a politician in the making, someone who just has a lot of opinions on how things should be run, someone looking for a great team building experience or just someone who wants something a little different to your standard night out, Revolution is for you.
For tickets see https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/revolution/