Have you ever wonder what it would be like in a post apocalyptic world? Ever fancied yourself in a real Mad-Max style situation? Well, Zed Events are now offering you the chance to do just that, only, in Reading.
Zed Events have been running immersive theatre experiences for a number of years and, most recently, have made the switch from a zombie experience to this Wasteland experience.
Continuing the story from the previous experiences, we’re now six years later and the government has decided to deal with the zombie situation by dropping nuclear warheads on various UK towns and cities.
This leads to virtually no infrastructure, and just a few areas being habitable, one such is the original site of the zombie virus, in Reading, now a trade hub.
The issue is that recently this major hub went dark. No messages, no response, nothing. As a group of fellow survivors, you are sent to investigate what’s taken place, what’s going on?
Arriving at the unassuming former shopping centre, it’s hard to know what you’re in for, the outside gives nothing away. In fact, say for a banner on the wall by the door, you’d pass it without realising anything was going on inside. Just another abandoned shopping centre.
On entry we were greeted by the jovial owner and host, Lee, who explained that, despite the building having changed hands on numerous occasions (most recently to a Texan, with big plans), they all go the same way when red-tape and planning become involved and he’s able to stay.
Lee explains the rules to us: no physical contact, don’t leave your finger on the trigger (something that happens more than you’d think, guns going off in the background), don’t use the gun as a club, don’t kick the shopping centre in, common sense stuff but you get the impression they are borne out of people taking things a little too far.
We are introduced to the iCombat weapons which are gas powered and, despite feeling a little small in the hand, are remarkably life-like, to the point that law enforcement agencies use them when training. At the front is a laser tagging system, no actual projectiles leave the barrel.
We suit up, minus magazines as this is the Wasteland after all, the lights go dark and we begin. I won’t spoil the whole story, but the experience is a tireless one of running from room to room, being led by an actor who fills you in on the story as you go.
The actors are superb throughout, they remain in character all the way to the end, beyond even. As the photos are being taken at the end, all of them are still in character, talking about cutting various body parts off, it’s all good fun.
If you’ve ever played a shoot-em-up computer game, you’ll know the score. You run around, shoot some bad guys, who shoot back and launch flash-bangs which, as the name implies, give off one hell of a bang, and at various points things slow down as a real-life ‘cut-scene’ unfolds in front of you.
It’s all very frenetic and, providing you give yourself to it, it’s as realistic as you want it to be. Therein lies the key to enjoying this immersive event; it’s who you’re with that will make it.
Zed Events only runs on weekends and aims to take groups of 20 round at a time (pretty sure they split you up into smaller groups) and, if you’re with a bunch of your friends and you have a laugh but take it seriously too, you’ll have an absolute blast.
However, get thrown with people you don’t know, of varying degrees of ability and varying degrees of willingness to lose themselves in it, and the result can be very different. When the price is £99 per person, you really want to make sure you enjoy it.