A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Circus In A Bottle

Circus In A Bottle
04 March 2023
Vault Festival
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

I’m a bit torn about how to rate this one. Circus In A Bottle is a fantastic idea on blending modern technology with immersive theatre performance and traditional circus. I love the idea, and the story being told, but the technology isn’t quite up to executing the ideas well.

The augmented reality goggles we’re given to view this show have a very narrow field of view, which usually works okay with things that are further away. But being a very intimate show, all the action unfolds on the table in front of us, just a few inches away. This makes it incredibly difficult to view the full show, as the field of view keeps cutting off the sides and edges of what is being shown. Right from the start, when we are asked to look at the large postcard on the middle of the table, try as I might, I couldn’t fit the entire things into my goggles, always cutting off at least two corners.

Throughout the show, we follow homunculus Monty, a tiny, bright pink humanoid figure. Little Monty performs a variety of tricks, but once again the technology impedes the display, making the little performer move in choppy, awkward looking ways. At the same time it’s very difficult to follow the whole act, as the narrow field of view means constantly having to readjust our own head movements to be able to see what is happening.

I did very much enjoy the story, and it could be great if performed in a different setting that better suits the limitations of AR goggles. The way it was presented, it was unfortunately a bit disappointing.

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