Just outside the bustling Assembly George Square Gardens are 6 audience members waiting to be seated in a crashed 7-seater car, the last seat is saved for Sam (played by Kristy Bruce) who is passed out on the wheel. As the doors slam shut, she wakes and starts to slowly recollect her memories, and it is clear that Wrecked begins at the end of the story.
The show, written and directed by Jonathon Carr, opens up a great sense of suggestion with only a simple sprinkling of objects in the car, as both audience and performer try to uncover the cause of the crash. The use of minimal props and staging allow for your imagination to gently wonder beyond the confines of the car. It is a familiar space, the smell of the musty fabric, the curvature of the seats – it’s all something we are familiar with, and therefore growingly feels less like we’re being performed to as we absorb the situation with genuine intrigue.
As a site specific theatre piece, the experience greatly enhanced the narrative, creating a perfect backdrop for the show. However, when sitting in such close proximity with other audience members, mostly strangers, it’s hard not to feel uncomfortable. At times though, this only adds to the suspense and tragedy of Sam’s story. There is no escape from the gaze of Sam, at times awkward but necessary in the telling of a sad and heart wrenching tale. Bruce’s use of the space is carefully considered without being small – through a myriad of sweeping hand gestures and long stares into several carefully placed mirrors; we are all part of the story, without being intimidated.
Bruce is a confident and engaging performer, sucking you in before you’ve even realised, and although the narrative can be loose in parts, her performance is genuine and bold. Bruce takes us through a seemingly unreliable snapshot of memories of which could be blamed on the head trauma seen as we enter the space, or more likely the complex nature of her guilt that consumes and ultimately ruins her.
Although comfort levels may not be to everyone’s taste, Fever Dream’s site specific show provides an intensely intimate experience that goes beyond the gimmick of sitting in one of the smallest venues at the Fringe.
Wrecked is playing Assembly George Square Gardens until August 29.