Skip to main content

Ring

Tramway, Glasgow
4 stars
The audience may have been left in the dark in this first of four 
performance-based pieces that make up the bulk of Fuelfest, Bank of 
Scotland Herald Angel winning producing team Fuel’s week-long residency 
at Tramway. Yet director David Rosenberg’s immersive experience is 
delivered with such scarifying intensity that his production is as 
enlightening on the possibilities of sound as it is on group dynamics 
and mass manipulation.

Once we’re ushered into a room with two banks of chairs facing each 
other with a harshly-lit gulf between, we’re lulled into a false sense 
of security by a man who calls himself Michael, but admits it’s not his 
real name. We’ve already been given head-phones and our names noted 
down, and now Michael talks us through proceedings as if we’re regular 
attendees of some un-named group therapy session.

As we’re plunged into blackness, any hinted-at meditations plumb darker 
imaginings, so the voices in our head bicker, confess or else whisper 
in our ears like intimate strangers. There are sounds of what might be 
crockery smashing, of crying and of possible violence. Is it a cult 
we’re part of, and if so, why is everyone singing to the Spartacus-like 
Francis (or is it Frances?) that might just be you?

Rosenberg’s adventure in binaural recording – a form of personal 
sensurround that wraps the sound around the listener – allows Glen 
Neath’s script to be as hokey as a Hammer era portmanteau horror flick. 
Married to Ben and Max Ringham’s sound design, it creates something 
akin to an experimental radio play in which the listener becomes 
participant in a spine-chilling forty-five minutes in which our own 
imaginations got both the better and the worst of us.

The Herald, November 22nd 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…