- Gareth K Vile
- 18 August 2017
Technology-driven drama that lacks bite
By building Frogman around virtual reality technology, Curious Directive present an hour-long drama that fails to build either dramatic tension or satisfying character development. Structured as a court hearing, with the audience cast as the jury, it alternates between scenes relayed through VR goggles and live performance, gradually unfolding a tale of death and deception. While early adoption of the 3D film format is admirable, it makes the show's format uneven.
When the case of a young girl's death is reopened, the daughter of the police diver who looked for her body is forced to confront an episode in her past that casts doubt on the established story. The video scenes are flashbacks – featuring a cast of children who, sadly, don't convince – and the crime is slowly pieced together to a predictable revelation. An ancient myth is recited at the end, introducing the importance of the coral reefs that provide the location, but this comes across as a late attempt to lend the plot a wider resonance.
Beneath the technological trickery, however, Frogman is a traditional script that closely follows old-fashioned theatre strategies – the protagonist is forced to address their comfortable biography, dramatic episodes are described by witnesses, a disembodied voice represents the authority of the court – without the necessary depth or imagination to make them relevant.
Traverse at Codebase, until 27 Aug (not 22–25), times vary, £19.50 (£14.50).