3rd Ring Out: The Emergency

In a cargo crate at the end of Grassmarket, Metis Arts are rehearsing the future. The idea is an impressive piece of interactive theatre, supported by advanced technology, an intense situation and a strategy board. The show sits somewhere between video board game, cabinet room and theatre, the three elements combining to create an intense experience. The plot follows our place in one of several emergency response bunkers, placed throughout the UK to run small sectors of the country in the case of national emergency. Our cell has been assigned to the area of the Suffolk coast line around Lowestoft and although this may be the blandest of areas in the UK, nothing could be further from the truth in this simulation. The use of technology here is impressive. The constant interruptions from phone-calls and computerised voices keep the pace up and take you quickly from one disaster to the next. These disasters stay on the side of believable rather than going down the potentially fantastical routes that this sort of theatre could have, which makes the action all the more believable. The constant interruptions from onscreen videos and the voting system for important events make the whole thing more immersive and make you feel like you are guiding the response to the ever-heightening crisis. This is not to say that there weren’t issues with this piece. With any show as technically heavy as this one, there are bound to be issues. The team leader, the only actor in the response cell, was forced to bring in ‘tech support’ in the form of a man in jeans and a hoodie to fix the voting system in the cell. This intrusion, although necessary, spoiled the atmosphere at beginning of the show and it took some time for the magic to be recaptured. On top of this, the actor sometimes missed his cues with the technology, leaving a slightly confused experience for the audience. Despite these issues, however, the idea is strong enough to keep us entertained. This show is a strong piece of immersive theatre and if the kinks in the technology are worked out it has the potential for brilliance. This is proved by the end of the show, which had the entire audience panicking. This show makes you feel like you are in an emergency and that is the best thing that can be said about it.

The Blurb

It’s 2033: there’s a killer heatwave and in the Emergency Response Cell everything depends on the pathway you vote for. A provocative, multi-media immersion in a possible future where the UK is at stake. www.3rdringout.com