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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

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