4D Cinema

In 1923, Marlene Dietrich made the transition from stage to cinema through a bit part in German silent comedy The Little Napoleon. Ninety-three years later, Mamoru Iriguchi delivers a monologue about Dietrich’s life, with a projector screen around his head. 4D Cinema is a strange show, but the monologue is not the strange bit. And Iriguchi’s head poking through the screen is not the extra dimension.

Potentially a seminal statement in its field.

4D Cinema is an extremely formally ambitious work, blurring the screen-edges between cinema, theatre, performance and video art. Its major innovation, though, comes as a surprise turn at around the middle of the show. The experience, the puzzlement, the moment of realisation at this turn relies on the audience’s naivety. Reviews ought not to give away a show’s ending, anyway. In 4D Cinema it is a whole load more complicated than that.

Initially, the monologue about Dietrich, who is best known for her classic, The Blue Angel, is lecture-like in style, with the care, lightness and slight rigidity of a university seminar room. Iriguchi’s utter lack of affectation is remarkable. It feels less that he is performing it to us, than he is talking us through it. We get a feeling of pieces being put in place, an implied promise of revelation if we stick with it.

Curious details emerge. Some pieces do not seem to fit. What seem like strange omissions in the audio and video of Dietrich. Life events in Dietrich’s biography that have an against-the-grain oddness. Her recipe for eggnog. It feels like we are being played with; and it turns out we are.

What then emerges from 4D Cinema is something as beguiling as it is unique. Something that collides text, image, history and the live space itself. Something simple, yet which yields a kind of boxes-in-boxes complexity. Something with the shock of the new.

4D Cinema is a bold experiment. Too bold and bizarre for some audiences, perhaps, making too many things strange. For me – and for you if you like theatre to challenge, to discomfort, to make you feel differently - it is one of the standout shows of the Fringe from the last few years and potentially a seminal statement in its field. Have your glasses ready.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sporting a screen and a projector around his face, Mamoru Iriguchi turns himself into a mobile cinema and explores what is live and what is pre-recorded, fixed eternally on film; what liveness means when technology blurs actual and virtual realities. ‘The sheer craft and invention… this is a really cunning, witty work that makes the brain cells spark with delight’ (Herald). ‘Iriguchi’s haunting, whimsical reflection on the life of Dietrich, driven by brilliant use of technology’ (Scotsman). ‘A great show, full of wit and subtle metaphor… Its liveness contains its death’ (Stage).