Billed as a mix of a board game and theatre, Revolution is an unusual and highly interactive show. We're met at the door by a fiery, resolute pair of hosts; there's an uprising on the streets outside, they tell us, and we the audience are competing dissident leaders. To find out which faction wins, we're going to play a game – a little reminiscent of Risk, though it's projected on the wall rather than being set out on a table. And along the way, we'll have plenty of opportunity to share ideas for a brighter future for London.
The game itself is fairly straightforward, based mainly around second-guessing your opponents as you each move armies of supporters around the city. Keen gamers will pick it up in an instant, and our hosts are impeccably helpful too, explaining the rules step-by-step as they guide us through the first couple of turns. A winner is declared at the end, but there's enough unpredictability built into the game to discourage taking it too seriously; genuinely, in this case, it's the taking part that counts.
To boost your supporter base and earn an advantage on the game-board, your team can complete additional tasks – all themed around the central topic of building a new society after a revolution. I found myself, variously, squabbling with political opponents in the style of Question Time; drafting a declaration of human rights for a new constitution; and representing my faction at a make-or-break peace conference. Each of the missions calls for some creative thinking and improvisation, and the tasks are well-chosen, sometimes thought-provoking but always entertaining.
The bunker-like setting adds to the experience as well, while neatly-planned movement through the space both breaks up the action and delineates the phases of the game. When we gather at one end of the room to watch our supporters' moves unfold, there are thrilling echoes of countless scenes from movies – the ones where worried-looking generals cluster around a glowing screen in a war-room. It's easy to believe there really is revolution on the streets outside, and the ever-present pressure to meet tight deadlines all but forces you to overcome any reticence and embrace your role.
So there's no faulting the fun. What Revolution lacks, though, is the feel of personal discovery – for an event that's pitched as part-theatre, it feels a little too much just like a game. Right at the start, you're assigned to a political faction; I was cast as a police-state fascist, and if I'm honest, I enjoyed it. There was no sense of consequence for the outrageous policies I espoused, no chickens coming home to roost in the final act.
Perhaps Exit Productions could do more to give this politically-themed entertainment a genuinely political edge. But it's an energising, interesting way to spend ninety minutes – and the team's technical tricks and logistical skills are genuinely impressive. You'll be pleased to play along.