BWW Review: VIRTUALLY REALITY, The Taproom
Virtually Reality promises a peculiar (arguably) immersive experience that will have the audience question their consciousness and reflect on their understanding of the world.
The core concept is fascinating, with its attempt to explain the unease perceived by the brain when confronted with human-like figures (think androids and automatons but mannequins as well) but the production leaves a lot to be desired. The quick 30-minute show holds heaps of potential with its solid creepy start and a pace that edges the participants to guess what's next.
The project is, fundamentally, the simulation of a psychotic episode - as explained by producer Cheryl Wang at the end. This latter element is one of its major issues. The tension built from the opening dissipates all of a sudden as the crowd are taken out of the eerie and affecting happening too quickly by the final bows (which also look out of place in a context as such) and is presented with an explanation of what they've just seen.
Now, in theory this isn't a bad idea as it provides facts and elucidations on the material. In this instance, however, offered as an extra addition taped to an already effective ending, it looks like a paranoid afterthought. The piece speaks by itself but it needs to be given the opportunity to do so fully, shedding the slightly smug finale.
As it is, it seems too self-involved and not smooth enough to achieve the goal it set itself. The basis and general outline is intriguing and can become a powerful, and truly disturbing experience. The dichotomy between the two parts work well and the sense of disorientation created by the structure is well thought out. The company just need a bit more confidence in the delivery of their material.