Ring at Battersea Arts Centre
Some people prefer radio to TV because the pictures are better. Ring is a theatre production where the images are all in the viewer’s head, fuelled by the power of imagination and suggestion.
It is an exercise in trust: you sit in a room packed full of strangers all wearing headphones, keeping your nerve as the hall dims to a pitch black rarely experienced. A darkness where you are unsure if your eyes are open or closed, where the merest glint of shading cannot be distinguished.
Sitting alone in the crowd, the room seems to rearrange around you. Voices whisper in your ear, someone draws very near and implicates you in a terrible crime.
This sound theatre is cleverly crafted through expert use of recording technology. There appears to be some kind of dysfunctional group session going on around you, closing in. Scenes change, funny and horrible things happen, and how it effects you depends upon your own level of paranoia.
The imagination is best served by suggestion, which is what makes this unnerving experience so effective, manipulating your sense of space and what is evidenced around you. It also disorientates your sense of time: each sitting is 50 minutes, but it can feel a lot longer.
Fuel is a theatre company that collaborates with extraordinary people in the worlds of art and science to produce unusual and immersive theatre experiences. Afterwards, the audience were laughing nervously about how scared they had been. Fuel has built up a small army of enthusiastic theatre-goers who, it seems, rather like getting a bit freaked out.
Ring is at the Battersea Arts Centre until 28th March 2013, for further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.