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Review: Cirque du Soleil in Virtual Reality

Cirque du Soleil in Virtual Reality, Birmingham Hippodrome, 31 Jan. To be performed at Warwick Arts Centre Feb 8 & 9.

Limina Immersive has given us the opportunity to enter the surreal world of the internationally acclaimed circus troupe Cirque du Soleil through the wonders of virtual reality (VR). I went to the Birmingham Hippodrome to experience this for myself prior to its opening at the Warwick Arts Centre . This was a brand new experience for me and it took place in a small, homely and comfy studio where I was joined by four other participants and welcomed by the VR host who clearly explained what was to follow. It doesn’t really matter in which direction you are sitting as you are provided with a headset and ear phones and you then enter your own world of VR and progress at your own pace using a very simple and easy to use controller.

We watched 2 VR films, ‘Dreams of O’ and ‘Luzia’ and were able to enjoy a whole range of experiences including characters walking right up to our faces, contortionists, tigers, musicians, dancers and acrobats. You feel totally immersed in the whole experience whether it be sitting underwater with some very balletic synchronised swimmers or being in the air looking down on some immensely talented and athletic trapeze artists. The whole experience took about 45 minutes but the time passes very quickly as you drift away into this new world, all of which is accompanied by very atmospheric and haunting music. To fully appreciate this performance you need to remember to be continually looking around. Don’t just look at what’s in front of you. This is a 360 degrees experience and you’ll miss out on some of the interesting things to be seen above and at the side! I was intrigued and curious when I entered the studio but left feeling it was time well spent and I’m sure the Warwick Arts Centre will provide a splendid venue.

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