Aidan Kane Munn @ AC Arts (Main Theatre)
9:30pm, Sat 21 Mar 2009
I remember climbing the steep stairs at AC Arts and dropping my arse into the seat; the sense of relief was overwhelming. It no longer mattered that I was 50-odd shows behind in my blogging, because this was my hundredth show of this Fringe. One hundred. And, despite the fact that all it takes to watch a performance is to sit on your arse and keep your eyes open, it had taken its toll. I was bone-tired, but happy to be… wherever I was.
Ah yes. VIRUS. Recommended to me by a friend (though, in retrospect, I can’t really remember whether it was a recommendation or a simple “my mate’s in this” type of comment), I had my curiosity piqued by the “inspired by Japanese anime, set in a post-apocalyptic city” tag-line. But then, waiting for the show to start, staring into the depths of the AC Arts space, I suddenly realised that the elements that could be inspirational could also be tragically handled.
The opening signs were not good. Reminiscent of the Evangelion opening, repetitive music with no progression blared away whilst we watched a projected animation that was both crudely drawn and over-produced; lens-flare was everywhere. I guess this opening was intended to act as an introduction, the background to the world of VIRUS; but what it actually achieved was irritation. It felt like that opening was fifteen minutes long… fifteen minutes before we saw any dance, and in a forty-five minute performance that’s pretty nasty.
Mind you, once the two dancers appeared (he sported spiky yellow hair, she carried pink) and started performing… well, “lacklustre” is a phrase that comes to mind. There seemed to be a bit of stylistic emphasis placed on the fact that they often danced over a video projection – but that’s been done before, and most certainly done better. Needless to say, the movement parts of the programme were not my cup of tea.
And as for the animation… well, I wasn’t expecting (the early, well funded) Ergo Proxy, nor was I expecting Urashiman – but VIRUS‘ animation was far closer to the latter, and was rudimentary at best. And, given the amount of actual dance in the performance, it feels like the animation was being used as filler… which is tragic on a number of levels.
To say that I was not enamoured by VIRUS is an understatement. It had so much potential, too: anime and dance, two of my favourite things, unfortunately blended into a garishly colourful milkshake that tastes… you know… wrong.