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Latitude 2017

Wifi Wars

Steve McNeil & Rob Sedgebeer

Genre: Comedic, Contemporary, Game Show, Interactive, Online Theatre

Venue: Latitude Festival Cabaret Tent


Low Down

WiFi Wars is the World Record breaking live Comedy game show where the entire audience play along! Login with your smartphone or tablet – make sure you’ve got plenty of battery! – and compete in a range of games, quizzes and challenges to win the show, and prizes!


This was a great idea for an interactive and inclusive show to put on at Latitude. It used very clever technology that had people logging into a very clever web browser with their smartphones, and playing retro computer games in a giant competitive tent-battle, where people’s selfies were flashed up on screen as they failed or won at certain events.


The show is made by the people who invented Go 8 Bit, a TV show with Dara O’Brien where celebrities use this fancy technology to play games against each other. This piece scales up the TV show (which has just a few celebs battling it out) so that you end up playing a first person shooter game with 160 other people in the cabaret tent. It is the brainchild of programmer Rob Sedgebeer who programmed all this clever technology, and sits on stage quietly and calmly managing all the scores and games.


I imagine the levels of rude humour in the show could be dramatically increased depending on the audience. In this case the room was almost half full of children (I know this for a fact as they did a smartphone poll that helpfully revealed 48% were under 18s) so it was a pretty tame brand of comedy from front man Steve McNeil. However the little boy next to me was in paroxyms of delight about the whole thing, so I’ll happily shelve the smutty humour for a happy child-face!!!


I suppose the main appeal of the show was the technical abilities of Rob Sedgebeer (great name by the way) to programme this incredibly complicated system and have it actually work, with 160 people, in a tent, in a field in the middle of Suffolk. The potential for things to go wrong is enormous, and in fact it really did, in as much as towards the end of the show they discovered that the whole thing had been running off their backup battery as the venue has lost power! Fortunately the backups worked and everything ran smoothly. I would not want to be the technical manager for this piece though, that’s for sure – so much is at stake!


This show was a very entertaining way to spend an hour, and shows just how much can be done with a smartphone and a very clever technical mind. I shall be seeking out the TV programme on Dave now, though I doubt it will match up to the live experience.