Vivascope

Another Dip Your Toe show, another trip into a bizarre fictional world in a Victorian bathing machine. This time a twenty minute experince centred around a camera obscura. For those who have never heard of one of those, it’s basically a clever optical device which projects an image of the surroundings on to a screen. Since it's situated on the beach, right next to the old pier, the image projected on the table in front of you is the pebbly Brighton shore. The two people leading the performance tell a kind of story about their meeting. One of them is always out of the room and you watch them on the beach.

Inside in the bathing hut they attempt to connect what's being seen outside to the story of their past by drawing on the projected image. They add another level to this by including bits of Odysseus and Penelope as a parallel. Ulysses anyone? The concept is certainly innovative and ambitious but it just doesn’t work very well. The layering of the stories makes it all quite confusing and the drawing on the screen doesn’t add much to what they say. The story itself has a bit of human interest, simply because it’s a love story, but it isn’t told with much excitement or enthusiasm. They try to make it quite emotional and profound which ends up just creating pretention and a slightly awkward atmosphere.

The visual device is itself pretty intriguing; after all, I’d never seen one before. They integrate some information about the history of its use into the show and how the eye generates colour and images which is all interesting. There is also one quite captivating section where the image of one of the performers on the beach is brought off the screen as it’s projected on to a small rectangle higher up. That creates a nice visual effect.

So all in all it’s an interesting device, cool setting and some unique ideas, but they aren’t well executed and the performance falls a little flat. It isn’t terrible; but it’s not worth the money

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Kriebel & Bouras have created an unusual machine for seeing. Small audiences enter a darkened room to experience a unique combination of a camera obscura and live performance.

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