Directed by David Rosenberg
Pros: A profoundly creative, unique and deeply immersive show which will have you on the edge of your seat.
Cons: I got a bit spooked a few times but as long as you don’t mind feeling insecure in the dark, this can’t really be described as a con.
Our Verdict: This is new writing at its absolute best. I am still baffled by how cleverly this show comes together.
The Battersea Arts Centre
are leaders of the pack when it comes to excellent new writing and this show by Fuel Theatre
is a perfect example of what this venue is trying to achieve. Ring
is a show which takes place entirely in the dark while the surrounding action is fed to the audience through individual earphones. It is impossible to write about this show without entering into a minefield of spoilers and part of why the performance works so well is due to its sense of mystery. So, with this in mind, I will try to tell you as much as I can without spoiling the intrigue.
We are welcomed into the room by Michael who seems slightly on edge as he helps us to take our seats and get settled in. When the lights eventually went down, I felt uneasy, as if all was not right in the room.
There is so much to commend in this piece – terrific writing, strong performances and impossibly brilliant sound design. This is an idea which is so effective it could easily be used again and again with different writing. However, one issue I had was that not all of the performers were on the same page in the sense that most of them seemed like real people in the room wandering around in the dark but others were more clearly actors acting. On a regular stage, this would have been fine but in this context it felt wrong. Simon Kane sets the bar high with a tone of pure truth as we enter the auditorium. I genuinely had no idea if he was a stage manager or a performer. It is this level of truthfulness which gives the show its real edge so when the acty bits came in, I suddenly remembered I was watching a play. I must stress, however, that this issue is extremely minor and shouldn’t be something that puts you off going to see the show.
All in all, this performance is extraordinary and heaves under the weight of endless potential. Fuel are a company with their finger on the pulse of forward-thinking, inventive theatre and I cannot wait to see more of their future work.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
Ring runs at the Battersea Arts Centre until 28th March 2013.