Wrecked, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

Wrecked is an immersive show set in the aftermath of a car crash. We join our protagonist, Sam, in her (real) smashed-up Vauxhall as she comes to with some short-term memory loss and tries to piece together what has happened in the lead-up to the accident.

We learn about her shoplifting days, her history of running from her problems, and her more recent encounters with the police. Throughout, this is interspersed with conversations we hear from a mystery couple on the sound system. Is it Sam and her partner? Sam in the future? What connects these people to the damaged human being we see in front of us? Slowly the threads of the story begin to weave together.

Overall, this is a pretty accomplished piece of theatre. The intimate setting of the crashed car is claustrophobic and tense. The actor does a really good job with the script – she holds the audience well and is engaging throughout. The script is a little clunky at times, especially towards the beginning, but it gets better and comes together well in the final moments.

The use of the voiceovers is slightly clumsy – with no technician, the performer has to cue the iPod herself, which is unfortunately somewhat distracting from the tense atmosphere. However, she usually wins back the audience pretty fast in the moments afterward – and this is a minor complaint, really.

Wrecked goes beyond its immersive gimmick and makes for a memorable experience.

Wrecked runs through 18 March.

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