Review: The Encounter

Simon McBurney
Simon McBurney
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SIMON McBurney thrashes around the low EICC stage, scattering water bottles, upturning equipment and finally pulverising a hapless table with a hammer in the crazed climax to the performance of his one-man production of The Encounter.

* * * * *

EICC, Morrison Street

An adaptation of the story of American photo-journalist Loren McIntyre’s experiences at the hands of an isolated native tribe after becoming lost in the Amazon jungle, the show is at times gripping and at others uncomfortable exploration of reality and relative values in the modern world.

Thanks to Sting and his like, there’s not a lot new in the who’s-more-civilised-us-or-them comparisons between primitive Brazilian tribes and 21st century Westerners, but the audience at the EICC lapped it up and a standing ovation was McBurney’s reward.

It is unquestionably an innovative and powerful show, the monologue delivered individually through headphones which obviously makes the experience all the more intimate.

The clever use of repeats and echoes to build layers of sound creates a texture and atmosphere that makes the sense of the sweltering, oppressive and terrifying jungle all too real and almost removes the need for any suspension of disbelief.

The table-smashing climax represents what McBurney thinks might happen if Westerners did what McIntyre’s tribe did in reality, which was to destroy all their possessions and start afresh.

Until 23 August