by David Rosenberg and Glen Neath.
Tour to 2 October 2013.
Runs 1hr No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 2 August at bac London.
Sound black magic.
This show carries the ring of truth. It’s palpable, sitting in the dark (where so much becomes probable, with a bush easily supposed a bear). And every word of it is a lie – including ‘and’ and ‘the’, as one American writer said of another. And got sued, so let me immediately clarify that it’s less a matter of lies than dramatic truth.
For Ring is a kind of aural 3D. We wear headphones and sit in the dark, after a prelude where safety and procedural points are made. They need saying but also create an atmosphere, relaxed yet edged with tension, which leads into the scenario which comes with the absolute dark.
This develops three ways. One is the suggestion of some kind of therapeutic group meeting, where familiar faces mix with newcomers (and we know which we are). Already the group and the individual are being identified as different aspects of our experience.
Through what might be comment or gossip this focuses on a group member whose name can be said, but not written, to refer to anyone. Stories are told about this member, developing into a crime-thriller. The sort you see on film. But this is total darkness, so guess where the film images run.
Third, and a considerable achievement of technical skill, is the focus of sound received through the headphones. At one point steps run through the dark room, which has already been reconfigured somehow in blackness. At others a voice whispers intimately over an individual shoulder. Presences are palpable; we could give evidence that things we never saw ‘happened’. You’ll believe it all, or you’ll be sceptical, and if you’re sceptical you’ll be amazed – or a sonic expert. In any case the piece’s ability to spark the imagination is notable.
But is it any more than aural Alfred Hitchcock, the crime story a sound-only MacGuffin to move things along, with little actual point? Eventually the story fizzles out, the much-discussed protagonist dissolving as the lights slowly come-up. Never mind; the introduction mentioned nightmares and dreams; the session in the dark ingeniously evokes their waking equivalent.
Michael: Simon Kane.
Allen: Nigel Barrett.
Louise: Louise Ford.
Iain: Finlay Robertson.
Jodie: Amanda Lawrence.
Josh: Tom Lyall.
Sarah: Catherine Dyson.
Greg: Greg Wohead.
Director: David Rosenberg.
Sound/Music: Ben and Max Ringham.
30 July-3 Aug 7.30pm & 9pm Battersea Arts Centre 020 7223 2223 www.bac.org.uk
6-7 Aug 6pm & 8pm Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305 www.oxfordplayhouse.com
19-24 Aug 2pm Pleasance Dome (Ace) Edinburgh 0131 556550 www.pleasance.co.uk
19-20 Sept 7.30pm The MAC Belfast 028 9023 5053 www.themaclive.com
25 Sept 7.30pm Junction Cambridge 01223 511511 www.junction.co.uk
26 Sept 6.30pm & 8.30pm Tom Thumb Theatre Margate 01843 221791 www.tomthumbtheatre.co.uk
28 Sept 8pm The Continental Preston 01772 499425 www.newcontinental.net
102 Oct 7.30pm Mat Wed 2pm Pavilion Dance Terrace Lower Gardens Bournemouth 01202 451805 www.artsbournemouth.org.uk/tickets