Describing itself as a theatre company which "produces fresh work for adventurous people by inspiring artists (and who) appeal to emotions and intellect", Fuel proves that they do exactly this with their production of Ring.
I had no idea what to expect when faced with the idea of “seeing” a piece of audio theatre, completely in the dark. However, having seen it, I am desperate to go again and listen even more carefully to pick out the nuances of this very carefully constructed piece.
By using headphones and extremely clever technology to create this incredible 3D audio production, the audience have their senses played with and their worlds turned upside down, becoming disorientated from the start. There is no comfort in knowing that you will have those who you go to the theatre with next to you as you are asked to change seats with other members of the audience. You then have the sense which most of us take for granted removed by being plunged into darkness; the show begins and the extraordinary tale unfolds. It is all about you and you are asked to share the responsibility for something you are sure you haven’t done
I cannot explain the story or any parts of the audio experience without spoiling it. However, you are thrust into the centre of some sort of self help group which you have inexplicably been recognised in - you become part of the action, left alone in a circle with everyone around you questioning you and making you question yourself.
Greeted and guided through the experience by Michael (Simon Kane), you soon start to question his motives; what are his reasons for being here, is he the person he appears to be? He whispers in your ear, creating an eerie moment of closeness, but why you?
Throughout the show you constantly query what is going on. Has everyone else left the room, have they moved somewhere else, are you in a room filled with actors, are they intending to be speaking to you or have they got the wrong person? Are your senses betraying you?
Still questioning afterwards whether what you heard was real or not, and trying to work out exactly how the incredibly talented director David Rosenberg, writer Glen Neath and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham have achieved what you have just encountered is all part of the experience and makes it even more fascinating.
Throwing aside all theatre conventions and encouraging you to let your imagination run wild, this piece is disconcerting, unnerving, intense, captivating, extremely clever, intriguing and unique. I am already planning on going again and hope that David Rosenberg and Fuel Theatre can produce this sort of theatre on a larger scale as it really is something that has to be experienced to be believed. I cannot recommend it highly enough, this is an absolute must “see.”
- Rhiannon Lawson