For AVM's VR Fun Fridays last week we visited the Somnai immersive experience in London. It began by waiting with our group for an ‘appointment’ with a sleep therapist. We had our ‘brains scanned’ and were instructed to put on a robe and socks.
After being read a story in a strange dungeon, we were lead through a series of comfortable pillow-filled rooms, each with carefully chosen atmospheric music putting you in a sleepy mood. Admittedly, your body does get a little confused and wonders if you should be trying to sleep.
All that meandering and snoozing doesn't help the narrative which gets a little immersed! Flying over a waterfall with geese, putting on and taking off “Sleep Masks”, jumping in and out of beds, and walking through corridors like an extra in the shining... we did find ourselves wondering if and how the VR might have been deployed to make it more coherent. That said, we enjoyed the adventure.
Beyond the novelty, it offered a glimpse into the future of immersive entertainment. If there is potential for combining virtual reality with traditional theatre, it's somewhere at the intersection of the two worlds... when you're not sure what's real and what isn't. For that to really work you either need to be IN or OUT of headsets - jumping to and fro just kills the buzz.