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Review: Quest for Oz ****

Michael Cox reviews an interactive production 'with such an earnest heart that it's impossible to resist'.

What is Quest for Oz? Is it theatrical installation? Outdoor technical wonder? Interactive video game? That answer to each is: yes.

Our journey begins on a magical bus that transports us to Oz. We’re told that the famed Yellow Brick Road has been destroyed, but three familiar heroes (the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion) have hidden the bricks, and we’ve been enlisted to find them.

Quest for Oz is the latest by Vision Mechanics, and anyone lucky enough to have seen any of their past work will have a pretty good idea what to expect: an interactive experience that marries the technical and the personal. This is performed at the same location that last year’s Dragons of Drummohr was, and it is a much richer experience—it’s better stage managed and more involving.

To describe what the show offers feels like cheating as it’s all about discovery. So in fairness, I’ll state some advice: dress warm, have a torch and sturdy footwear and make sure your mobile device not only has the required app but is fully charged—you’ll need all of the above to fully enjoy your time in Oz.

It’s not perfect. Dramaturgically the piece could be sharper and answer some of the questions it poses with better answers. There are stretches that could use more practical touches. Also, perhaps Oz isn’t as much of a cultural cornerstone it once was—make sure anyone attending has at least a crash course in the basics of Oz and its main protagonists.

But the whole thing is done with such an earnest heart that it is impossible to resist. My wife and I took our nephew with us, and he was utterly delighted with the whole thing. In our drive home I asked what he thought, and he spent a lot of time enthusing about everything. I asked him how many stars he would give it. ‘Five!’ he screamed out, before adding ‘Well---I didn’t like the witch stealing some of my bricks, so maybe four’. Who am I to disagree?

Quest for Oz is at Drummohr House until August 28, 2018. For details on tickets, location and the required app, go to the website:

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