Murrayfield Ice Rink
til 27th Aug

IMA (Pray) is an immersive circus experience. In the installation space reminiscent of sacred places, we participate in a unique ritual guided by the performer, who becomes a 21st-century shaman taking the audience into the unknown territories of the human mind. Bence VĂ¡gi, director-choreographer of IMA worked with his team to create a magical installation inspired by the starry sky stretching over the desert; the place where human beings realise that we are merely tiny points in the infinite vastness of the universe.

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

If you read the show description you’ll understand that this is a whole lot of arty-wank surrounding an aerialist.

It’s actually a 30 min aerial act built into a black domed tent. The experience is built on top of the floor that would normally be the ice rink, but there’s no ice until after the Festival when the skating can return.

Upon arrival you’re presented with a strip of gauze (polyester, non-bio-degradable?) and invited to add it to a large frame of chicken-wire in amongst others. There are white LED floods from one side and fans underneath to create movement in the strips. It’s considered a photo opportunity to stand on the podiums in front with lighting that captures more of a silhouette than face.

Going through a small tunnel into the dome would not be recommended for anyone with claustrophobia. Once inside you sit on stools or cushions. There is a distinct lack of any illuminated Fire Exit signs which is rather worrying! The tent material has 1000s of pinholes allowing external lighting fixture to create light beams in the haze of the space.

It’s all very black and white, no colour, and extremely interesting for 5 minutes or so. The aerialist performs for a further 25 minutes, starting with a sort of “Tai Chi from a rubber man” and then moving onto the apparatus to do a very good act. The final fade to complete black wthout any internal lighting is rather eery.

The music composition is sort of operatic, orchestral and church organ’y – making the experience rather eery. The poster image is exactly what you see at IMA. Personally I didn’t find the experience spiritual or reminiscent of a sacred place.