Fiction

Glen Neath

FUEL

Pleasance Dome

From 05 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

Experimental theatre has always been a staple of Edinburgh's Fringe, but often the sort of avant garde leaps of choice and design often don't quite live up to the opportunities of the season.

Theatre company Fuel, under David Rosenberg's direction, eschews convention and channels new blood through the theatre experience by doing away with the visual element almost entirely.

Each audience member is given a pair of binaural headphones labelled with a seat number, thus separating friends or family from each other and removing the possibility of distraction.

The stage is set like a lecture hall with a series of instructional slides showing. Shortly into the experience, the entire audience is plunged into an all-consuming darkness, left alone only with a series of voices and accompanying sound effects coming through the earphones.

The result is a fascinating and enthralling immersion into a world of sound, smell and even touch as the audience is lead through a dreamlike story of strangely bureaucratic Orwellian events and rules, flitting occasionally between several related but disparate storylines.

It's a clever conceit, and one which works for the most part seamlessly, with the fully 3D soundscape creating a whole world of imagination aided by outside factors such as a deep bass rumbling through the floor creating an eerie semblance of being in a moving car.

The story is best left unmentioned, but it gives a unique, if at times slightly slow, experience of entirely mental creation, as truly no two patrons will imagine the events in quite the same way.