There are a lot of innovative and unique venues at this year’s Festival, but Wrecked might be just one of the most original and weirdest, as this entire performance takes place in a battered up car. Fever Dream Theatre debuted Wrecked at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, and they returned this year with the same concept. Up to six audience members join an actor in the car and piece together what happened that resulted in the car crash. The concept is clever and bold, and the mystery of piecing together the series of events that led to this scene is intriguing, however, the storyline feels a bit tired and unrealistic.
Wrecked might be just one of the most original and weirdest venues
Our actor for this particular performance is Colette Eaton, who plays Sam, a scared, desperate young woman who is trying to figure out why she is in the driving seat of this crashed car. Her memory is hazy and she attempts to pick through her memories, talking about her father, her upbringing and her friendship with a girl named Lizzie. As Sam stumbles over her memories, old and new, she looks around the car for clues, trying to figure out why she is here. There are a whole variety of different items and clues left for the audience and character to unravel and figure out. I had been excited at the prospect of a a mystery-solving 45 minutes, but these props and cues weren’t used to their full potential at all, and I was left feeling disappointed. With such a unique opportunity to be interactive, I had been hoping for more use of the interior and venue that we were seated in.
Eaton really illustrates the madness-like quality of someone facing real fear and desperation, she appears unpredictable and this definitely adds to the tension already felt by being crammed into this car with complete strangers. She makes the most of the limited space available, interacting with the audience and performing to every individual, giving the performance a very intimate and personal feel.
The lack of sound and blacked out windows of the car did create a heightened sense of tension, complimented wonderfully by Eaton’s performance, and whilst the storyline was slightly disappointing, the audience still had a full experience of what it would be like to be in this desperate scenario. (It should probably be noted that if you’re claustrophobic: this is not the show for you!)
Throughout her recollections of memories, there is a lot of time spent discussing and developing the characters of Sam’s father and her friend, Lizzie, and their integral parts to why Sam has ended up here. Whilst we explore Sam’s relationship with both, neither of these characters are developed well enough for the audience to feel a personal connection to their parts in the story. We learn early on that Sam’s father is ill, but this is rarely revisited - and this underdevelopment of Sam’s father was particularly disappointing.
By not effectively using the space, props and the characters involved, this performance could have easily been anywhere else. The novelty of the performance is full of promise and hope for a unique and powerful take-home message, but in reality it just becomes another monologue.