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‘Clever immersive adventure game’: VIPER SQUAD – CtrlAltRepeat (Online review)

If you have a problem, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… the ViperSquad! CtrlAlt-Repeat’s new Zoom show is a clever immersive adventure game with a revolving cast and a tense scenario across the approx 100-minute running time.

It has an 80s video game feel from the start, but soon evolves into something far more complex, as audience members are assigned to a team (e.g. negotiation, intelligence or action) and briefed in breakout rooms. It is a slick operation with genuine tension and tight teamwork, and a tongue-in-cheek approach.

You can choose whether to keep your camera on or not during proceedings, and your team and codename will indicate your level of involvement as the situation develops. The chat window is important, and there are diagrams and documents to study.

Although a desktop or laptop computer is recommended for access to Viper Squad, I was able to participate easily from a mobile phone cast to my television (from necessity as my laptop is fairly elderly). Despite not being a natural immersive show participant, I didn’t mind being put on the spot to talk to an informant and save a hostage.

With Joanna Brown as Control, James Dillon as Intel and Adam Blake as Captain Mac, the teams of new squad members were welcomed and included throughout, so that everyone in the audience feels they have a role. Other characters played by composer Rachel Waring, co-directors Sid Phoenix and David Alwyn, and a squeaky-voiced Edward Cartwright, made the scenario feel as real as possible.

As this is a live stream, the CtrlAlt-Repeat company is working flat out behind the scenes: Alwyn managing the Zoom and video editing, Waring mixing the music. It all feels seamless, with video and audio clips, a tense stand-off, and puzzles of the life and death variety. This is an intricate piece that draws you in from the start.

Viper Squad, developed from a story by Dillon, is set in New York but is universal in its approach. No knowledge of video gaming is required, although it probably adds another level of enjoyment.

You will quickly feel involved, have to think on your feet, have to retain a lot of information, and trust your instincts. The Viper Squad relies on you.

Viper Squad continues until 22 November. Tickets can be purchased at from £17.50 + booking fee.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review Viper Squad.

Logo credit: Rebekah Finch.

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