Friday, 30 September 2011

Half Real, Malthouse Sep 30, 2011 ***

Half-Real ***
The Border Project, Malthouse Theatre Sep 30 until October 15, 2011
  • Review by: Kate Herbert
  • Also available on:
  • Published: October 03, 2011 4:05PM (reviewed Sep 30)

Half Real. Pictured: Alirio Zavarce, Amber McMahon, David Heinrich. Image credit Steve Tilling

BLEND a murder mystery with an interactive video game, projected digital imagery, characters and dialogue, then give the audience digital, handheld devices to choose the direction of the narrative, and you have Half-Real.
At the start of The Border Projects production, directed by Sam Haren, we stare at an empty space with blank walls until an amplified voice orders us to choose our suspect in the murder of Violet Vario.
The voice instructs us to our digital devices to, Vote now! for either Otis (Alirio Zavarce), Jason (David Heinrich) or Penelope (Amber McMahon), the suspects whose names are projected over their heads.

The audience is excited, anticipating each progression to a new game level and delighting in seeing the voting result projected on screen. Its like the worm on election night  but with real blood.
Locations magically appear as digital art by Chris More transforms the empty space into Violet's bathroom, a bar, a bookshop, a nightclub, a film set or the back of a limousine.
Unfortunately, the acting and dialogue are pedestrian, not equalling the calibre of the elaborate technology designed for the iPad generation.
The concept, technology and design are certainly inventive but the novelty wears off as quickly as a new toy in this electronic version of Cluedo.
Although it is fun to play this game and feel in control of these puppet characters, we are really just moving prepared scenes around in this episodic mystery.

The Border Project
Malthouse Theatre until October 15, 2011
Star rating: ***

No comments:

Post a Comment