Drummohr House, Musselburgh – until 28 October 2018
An infectious cross between an interactive game and a piece of immersive theatre, Quest for Oz sees the paths around Drummohr House near Musselburgh turned into the land of Oz.
If the idea of meeting Blue witches and witnessing the empty houses of lost Munchkins sounds a bit frightening for a family evening out, the real drama is reassuringly provided by collecting yellow bricks using an app on your phone.
This latest venture from Vision Mechanics builds on several years of immersive son-et-lumiere style events, from their Giants in the Forest to last year’s Dragons of Drummohr, by way of the immensely popular Big Man Walking.
The whole thing starts on the Emerald City Express which you catch at Wallyford Park & Ride, ready for transport to the magical world. A friendly guide helps set the mood, setting out the parameters of the show, geeing up nervous youngsters and bringing their cynical older siblings back a peg or two.
Once in Oz itself, a quick chat with the all-powerful Wizard of Oz reveals that a fight between the forces of dark and light has dispersed the bricks of the yellow brick road The quest is to regain those bricks as you follow the now yellow brick-free path around Oz, visiting its inhabitants.
The tour is cleverly done, from the opening glade where Glinda the Good sits on her silver hanging chair, stroking a rather self-assured cat if you are lucky, past wishing wells, and games parlours (where you trade bricks for goes on fairground games) an apothecary (more bricks for anti-witch potions), a maze and on into the dark, screeching path where more mysterious things might lie hidden.
All the while, the story of the Wizard of Oz is there in the background. Pumpkin houses where Munchkins live, a bed surrounded by poppies, notes on trees and bricks. Helpful wizards and Ozians wander the path, providing hints for those who need them and a generally reassuring presence in the growing dark.
The three main points of interaction on the way – as well as the fairground games and the apothecary, as you near journey’s end there’s a chance to have magic runes painted on your face – provide different levels of entertainment according to your age. So it is equally fun for children as it is as something to experience before a night out.
The lighting effects mean that the whole works better in the late dusk or after dark, while the experience is much enhanced if every member of a group is able to have their own means of collecting bricks.