Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A 20 minute immersive video goggle experience takes you on a trip to a scary clown populated parallel world.
Brighton-based Ill Pixel Rosso is a collaboration between filmmaker Simon Wilkinson and Theatre maker Silvia Mecuriali, their aim, to create ‘immersive fictional worlds’ that incorporate ‘live interactions, smells and physical sensations’. In their debut show And the Birds Fell From the Sky… they have created an unsettling and distinctive theatre experience that succeeds on all of these fronts.
The experience is disconcerting from the start as you and a companion are ushered into sleazy looking waiting room just the wrong side of David Lynch, a television reports on forest fires in Russia. The lengths to which the company has gone to create this atmosphere in a rather inauspicious looking container on the forecourt of C-venues ECA is admirable, it successfully detaches you from the outside world. As you put one the video goggles and headphones, the detaching process becomes all the more intense. And the Birds… set in a world in which we cohabit the earth with the Faruk, an uninhibited and at times violent sub-species of humanity with clown like make up. Goggles in place, you are plonked into a wheelchair and the only option is to play along. The immersive nature of the experience is enhanced by subtle use of smells and sensations, as you watch a Faruk drink vodka and spit it out, you are lightly spattered with vodka.
The level of care in establishing the world implied the company, were interested in communicating a narrative. Yet while plot threads began, few reached completion. While this personally frustrated me, it did add to this hazy dreamlike experience, where by its grimly poetic conclusion I was searching for an escape route! The experience plays havoc with your perspective and spatial awareness and if you are not a compliant audience member by nature this is perhaps not the experience for you!
Formally inventive and genuinely unsettling, this is a truly original piece of work, (always a refreshing change on the fringe!) and one of those Edinburgh experiences that will have you and your friends talking and scratching your heads in equal measure.