Ring* (Battersea Arts Centre)

Posted: October 1, 2014 in Theatre

For those of us old enough to remember, the advent of stereophonic sound in the late 1960s was a time of wonder. It seemed a miracle that Paul Simon could sing to us in one ear, whilst, at the same time, Art Garfunkel was singing into the other. This show plays upon the same sense of discovery; we hear voices in the distance, voices closer, voices to our left, right, front and rear and then someone whispers into our ears. The only problem is that the novelty of stereo wore off almost half a century ago. Sitting in complete darkness and wearing headphones, we are firstly told that the seating is being moved to form a circle and we hear the shuffling of chairs. Then the presenter opens a discussion with what he claims to be members of the audience, but that deceit is blown to smithereens in about 30 seconds when it becomes clear that the actor-like voices that we are hearing are, in fact, those of actors. The publicity for this show claims that it “places the audience at the heart of a thrilling attack on their own identity”, but maybe that is as tongue in cheek as a press quote which declares a show, the essence of which is that nothing is visible, to be  “an absolute must see”. The same experience could be achieved by sitting at home and listening to a radio play (hopefully one better than this) with the lights off, which many may feel would have been a more profitable way of spending the evening.

Performance date: 1 October 2014

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