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WHIST

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

Freudian slips are showing all over the place in this new melding of physical theatre and virtual reality, played out in the top floor foyer of the Festival Theatre by Ashford based dance company, AOE. With the room adorned with a series of geometric sculptures, the audience are kitted out with a VR headset. This advises the wearer to stand over an approximation of a wormhole before signalling them to move to one or another of the sculptures in turn. Once here, the viewer is thrust into the centre of a 360 degree filmed dream sequence which, dependent on your reactions, takes you on one of 76 possible journeys drawn from Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams.

Over the next fifty minutes, this dreamer had his internal urges exposed by way of a series of films involving assorted mini psycho-dramas. Backdrops included a dinner party, a library and a very Ibsenesque birdcage. Others will have had a completely different experience.

Co-produced with Gulbenkian Canterbury and tanzhaus nrw Dusseldorf, AOE's production by the company's artistic directors, Esteban Fourmi and Aoi Nakamura, fuses the hi-tech with the primal to create a series of bite-size narratives open to interpretation. Onscreen performers Robert Hayden, Tomislav English, Yen-Ching Lin, Nina Brown and Steve Rimmer deliver their wordless imaginings with studied gusto. And if such extrapolations of the unconscious aren't easily dissected, fret not. At the end of the show, the audience are given a download code to receive an instant online analysis that provides a potentially illuminating personality study. Those in search of enlightenment have all this week and next to face up to their darkest thoughts.

 
The Herald, July 25th 2017

ends

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