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BWW Review: THIRST TRAP, Fuel Theatre

A unique, immersive experience in your own bath tub

BWW Review: THIRST TRAP, Fuel Theatre

BWW Review: THIRST TRAP, Fuel Theatre Theatre reviews do not often start with a cardboard package, delivered late at night by a black lycra-clad bike courier. In modern parlance, a 'thirst trap' is an often sexually-charged photo, used on social media to entice a response, so I felt a level of trepidation when the box was opened to reveal multiple compartments containing a variety of items such as a thermometer, a candle and a sachet containing items for a post-show drink. Detailed instructions lead you to a QR code to stream the audio part of this immersive bathing experience.

As with any type of immersive theatre, Thirst Trap is not an experience that will appeal to everyone; you are warned that you have to be in a calm and focused mindset to undertake the task. The fact that this includes meditation, mindfulness and self-awareness will not sit well with some. With that in mind, the experience lies mainly in running a bath to a certain temperature, stripping off and laying back to the dulcet tones of Sharon D Clarke, with a few props thrown in.

The experience requires you to examine your own body and focus on our relationship with and the sensation of water. It also encompasses messages of awareness about climate change and water shortage, with a few venomous attacks on Boris Johnson and politicians in general that sit oddly in the context of the experience.

Clarke is a master of voiceover and could read out an Ikea instruction leaflet with soothing calm and serenity. Her voice certainly carries the 30-minute audio section of the experience along beautifully, but even she cannot distract from the actual content; some of which provokes thought, some of which is a little baffling, touching on the future privatisation of healthcare and how children cannot play outside in the daylight. The "message" feels a bit too angry and obvious.

Alicia Jane Turner's sound design is excellent: tranquil and quite hypnotic, without crossing that fine line into annoying spa music or formulaic whale song.

The wellness and meditative aspects mean that you need to concentrate, and it would have been better to advise that the experience wasn't undertaken in daylight. At 30 minutes, the water also cooled enough to be quite uncomfortable by the end.

You cannot fault its innovation. Rachael Young, its author, has created a well-thought-out novelty, with everything you need included in that box. The overly punchy aspect of the central message is a weak point, but the inclusion of a post-show drink is a nice touch, even though we are all craving that slightly tepid white wine in a plastic glass drunk in a real theatre at the moment.

Thirst Trap is now sold out, but the sound files are available to purchasers until 29 March

Photo Credit: Aliya Al-Hassan

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From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan