Following their single audio experiences Double, Eternal, and Visitors, Darkfield Radio have now moved into an episodic structure for their latest show, Knot, written by Glen Neath and co-directed by Neath and David Rosenberg (who also manages the sound and tech).
Designed to be listened to in three seperate sections in particular locations (a park bench, the front seat of a car, your home), the show utilises the same structure as the previous short pieces – wear your headphones, close your eyes, and become immersed in a 360 experience which puts you in the centre of the action.
Knot has hints of a story which may or may not become clear in the final instalment. A woman sits on a park bench. A boy kicks a ball. Two people are in a car, but the destination is unknown. Several people come to your home for a meeting in which you seem to be the one person with the answers.
For me, the structure of waiting for the next episode left it hard to be immersed in the plot. You have twenty or twenty-five minutes of build-up, then have to countdown to the next time you follow the story. In a way I would have preferred an hour-long piece, but the live nature of the show’s delivery probably means this is impossible to achieve.
As you listen, you can try and change the outcome as well as fitting the pieces together. However, unlike the previous shows, I did not feel particularly invested in Knot. The premise is sound, and the experience is well-thought out and delivered, but the story felt confusing and there was too much going on in part three.
I did like the ambient sounds which placed you in each location: if you are unable to get to the park or in a car, you can just imagine you are there, and the show’s audio structure will help you. This is innovative, immersive material which Darkfield have developed from their earlier live shows in crates, boxes, and other off locations.
Designed to unsettle the listener, Darkfield’s shows have always achieved that, and Knot is no exception. I think the issue for me was that I finished the trilogy feeling I had missed something, and so it wasn’t as enjoyable an experience as some of the other shows the company have put together.
However, Darkfield is a company which defies categorisation, and are worth keeping an eye on as they challenge the boundaries of what theatre is and can achieve.
Knot is available until 4 July – book your tickets here.