Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see about film and theatre’s technology use and genres, along comes Frogman; a thriller like no other!
A superb blend of theatre with 360-degree film and binaural sound, Frogman blurs the lines between reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.
The experience starts as soon as you enter the space, which looks more like a hi-tech film studio than a theatre. Sixty swivel chairs surround a catwalk-like rug, each with a set of virtual reality goggles and headphones. The instructions are to put on the virtual reality goggles when we see the green light, and to remove them on the red light.
And then it begins. Actor Georgina Strawson performs live as the current day Meera, who is asked to recall the details of a weekend in January 1995, when she was 11 years old. Her friend, Ashley disappeared that weekend and new evidence has emerged.
As Meera has flashbacks of the summer of ’95, the virtual reality goggles and binaural sound take you there with her. It’s a fresh style of immersive theatre, prompting the audience to work out what happened to Ashley and who did it.
The integrated sensory concept, devised by UK company curious directive, is ground breaking. Director Jack Lowe’s creative vision for storytelling brings this piece to a new level of art. Even though some of the language used in the script is more British than Far North Queensland, the stellar performances by Strawson and the three young screen actors make it believable, worthy of winning awards.
Film and theatre buffs looking for a new experience should watch Frogman, which is showing at the Brisbane Powerhouse until Sunday, October 21 as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF).