5:41 pm in Featured, Review by EVNT

Fuel, the production company behind ‘Ring’, seek to create theatrical experiences for ‘adventurous people’, which seemed slightly anomalous as we ascended the stairs of the always delightful Battersea Arts Centre. What did we know? That ‘Ring’ was an hour long (always good for a Tuesday night), that it was a sound journey, and that for parts of the production we would be plunged into darkness. Fine, nothing particularly adventurous about sitting in the dark with headphones on. Easy.

Sat down in rows of chairs in a dimly lit, elegant room, an officious but friendly man in a black polo neck ran through a health and safety warning. ‘We will be in darkness for nearly an hour, if this is a problem then leave now’. The lights began to dim, and the audience were silent as we processed the engulfing gloom. This wasn’t ‘dark’- where street light seeps in through a crack in the uncovered window- this was a complete black out. And it was quite unsettling. Ok, maybe this wouldn’t be so easy.

The experience once plunged into darkness, the surreal manner of the transition from audience member to protagonist, was startling. Dealt with subtly, and set up deftly. It’s probably best to hold back on specifics in order to ensure anyone who reads this and jumps up to buy a ticket (and you really should) gets the same experience. A ringing endorsement for any immersive experience, and especially true in this case. It was unique, terrifying and exhilarating.

David Rosenberg (Director) and Glen Neath (Writer) tease in an interview that the lights have come up in ‘Ring’ and people have been in the foetal positions. The power of the concept and the success of its delivery makes this claim completely believable. Fuel’s projects are eclectic and wide reaching, and on the evidence of this, they are definitely worth keeping tabs on.

Matthew Mills