Alma Mater ‘tiny, beautiful, wholly new theatrical experience’ **** review
Aug 2011 09

The List: Review by Kirstin Innes

8 August 2011

Alma Mater
 **** (four stars)

Immersive, lovely look at childhood innocence and loss

There’s been so much recent chatter about the use of digital technology in theatre that you can practically hear the inevitable Luddite backlash grinding up already: don’t let ‘em drown out this tiny, beautiful ghost story. Using – at face value – just an iPad and a small white room, Glasgow company Fish and Game have managed to create a wholly new theatrical experience.

The solo audience member treats the iPad like a camera, matching the corners and doorknobs up to a film shot in apparently the same tiny space. Through the screen, the room becomes a little girl’s bedroom, and as she directs the user wordlessly about, the terrors and joys of her imagination spool out around you. She feels real; she’s right there, sitting beside you on her bed, and the film’s slick, horror movie-editing plays on this feeling to crank up the tension. It’s an utterly immersive and ultimately lovely look at childhood loneliness and loss, but the delicate, haunted worlds she drags you through are occasionally so unsettling you can feel them on your skin. Ball’s in your court, Microsoft.

St George’s West, 225 7001, until 29 Aug (not 15), every ten minutes from 11am–6.50pm, £5.

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