Frogman

Curious Directive

Curious Directive

Traverse at CodeBase

From 04 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Frogman gives visitors the opportunity to experience virtual reality, while enjoying a crime drama set on the Great Barrier Reef.

Around 30 people are set in a circle around personal TV screens and a bed of fake sand. Each has a stool that revolves through 360°, a set of headphones and a VR headset.

As you quickly discover, the gear is quite uncomfortable and the headset heavy. However, the panoramic world that it creates is worth a little discomfort.

While Meera Clarke, played on stage by Tessa Parr, gives her testimony to Sarah Woodward’s disembodied voice of an Australian police investigator in 2017, nothing is exceptional.

However, in order to follow the accusations of murder against her father 22 years before, it is necessary to don the techy stuff and watch recreations. These take place in young Meera’s bedroom and also under the ocean on Queensland’s coral reef.

It takes time to get used to the opportunities, literally revolving through 360° physically and discovering that the images follow. In particular, the camera work underwater is spectacular and worth the ticket price alone.

The dramaturgy is bog-standard crime fiction, investigating the disappearance of an unruly teenager from the wrong side of the tracks but keeps us amused while we capitalise on the virtual reality sampler.

It will be interesting to see whether VR really takes off at this stage or requires lighter, more user-friendly hardware before the technology becomes a fixture in every living room. Until then, Frogman is the ideal substitute.