Word Play at the CSIRO discovery centre. A review

johnboy 18 May 2013

Word Play is the latest outing from Boho Interactive and is running at the CSIRO Discovery Centre.

As an experience it is certainly novel. Downright unusual in fact.

On arrival you’re instructed how to get the appropriate app on your phone (SMS to a number can be done with those stuck on ancient platforms who still want to participate).

The audience in due course is lead into an auditorium (possibly the most comfortable theatre seats in Canberra) and the actors are then performing on screen from a remote location (in this case Yarralumla) pretending to be researchers contacting the audience in a bunker after an information virus has wreaked havoc on most of the rest of humanity.

It’s always hard to tell how much of the interaction is real, and how much staged. I know one of my questions made it into the performance.

Those who’ve read John Barnes challenging Century Next Door books about One True or even Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash will find the ideas familiar (and if you haven’t get cracking). For others it will seem like a revelation.

It’s a part horror movie, part choose your own adventure, part impro.

With the app installed my phone vibed every time my input was wanted and it was a strange distracting experience.

The performance would have been very different for those not stabbing their phones.

Interactive theatre via smartphone will remain a niche activity I suspect.

But it’s a fun 90 minutes with moments of genuine suspense and interest.

As something completely different I’d say check it out.

It’s running until 1 June. Tickets at Try Booking.

word play

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