I suppose all of us in Sydney end up seeing something that falls under the Sydney Festival banner – it’s really just a matter of what.  For Rachel and I, we went to see Ghost Garden because it was a) free, b) outdoors, so we could take Shelby.

The concept sounded kind of cool.  You rock up to the Botanical Gardens, pick up a little GPS computer, and you go where it directs you around the garden.

When you get to select spots, you get to see a short 30-second video.

I will grant that it’s a very clever use of technology, and I’d be interested to see what other things could be done with it.

For Ghost Garden itself, however, it’s all rather disappointing.  In 30-40 minutes of walking, you get to see 9 little short animations, meaning that effectively, you’ve got only about 5 minutes of story.

Furthermore, to call it a “story” is a bit misleading.  While we can kind of pick up from the first couple that it is a story of a beautiful woman and a sailor-type person, the animations get more and more enigmatic until Rachel and I didn’t have the slightest idea what was going on.

Also, we’re trying to read the screen at 2.00 in the afternoon, which was rather difficult to do with the sun.  However, they did provide the lend of a purple brocade parasol for the duration of the walk, so that was kind of cool.

I think the winner in all of this was Shelby, who got a lightning tour of the Botanical Gardens in her pram while Mum and Dad had inane conversations like, “Are we at the spot yet? . . . A little bit over here . . . Why won’t the animation start? . . . We’re right on the spot! . . . What the heck did that mean?? . . . ”

1 1/2 out of 5

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