By default, much of theatre is already multimedia in nature. Thus, to bill something explicitly as being a “multimedia experience”, conjures up a vision of an event that will surely go beyond, for example, staging, lighting, dramaturgy, choreography, costume design, sound design and all the rest of the usual paraphernalia of a contemporary theatre production.
From this perspective, Artocrite Theater’s “multimedia experience” The Venerable Bird’s Eye View, defies expectations, as there is nothing boldly multimedia about any of it: it is all very much par for the theatrical course. As they also demonstrate, however, this may not necessarily be bad thing. Indeed, they use their modest resources and the small space of C primo extremely effectively to produce something that is humorous, intense, and yet often delicate and intimate too.
Based on the conceit that three birds are transformed into humans, it follows their indoctrination into all things homo sapiens in a series of short scenes—an often witty voyage of discovery. The performers (Peter Jordan, Wong Ching Yan Birdy and Leung Ho Pong) express themselves for the most part corporeally, through dance, mime and movement.
However, although there are many good ideas here, and some of the individual sections certainly work well (the opening is highly effective, for example), the overall pacing isn’t as tight as it needs to be, and the message that the performers are trying to convey is rather fuzzy: it would benefit from more editing and a lot more clarity. As a consequence, it comes over just a little more whimsical than, given the material and performers, it wants to.
However, despite these shortcomings (and so early in its run, these are bound to be more towards the surface), there is an honesty and energy here that can’t help make one warm to both the performers and the production, and this certainly makes it worth a trip away from the Fringe’s main venues.