See it if
You're open to experience & a piece of theatre that might be transcendent but for its length despite an intense tour de force performance.
Don't see it if
You like neither technology nor radio theatre or expect any sort of traditional linear play or simple minded entertainment.
Too long by a third, it can be easy to dismiss this show as mere spectacle, or reduce it to a technical, state-of-the-art Wow, a very sophisticated bag of audio tricks. Each member of the audience wearing earphones, it’s actually pretty thrilling to have a real-time demonstration of how sound affects the brain—specifically, your brain—& how much our senses of place, time & reality depend on & are affected by sound.
McBurney’s a charming, engaging host with no curtain to hide behind, guiding the audience through the different acoustic means that will create the evening’s story and reality. There’s a collective intake of breath when he says that he’ll blow in your left ear & you’ll feel the warmth of breath — and you do.
Within this setup, The Encounter dives quickly into questions of existence, truth, & place; of our sense of living in an arguably mistaken or false reality of time & objects & of individual self. Earphones on, disoriented from sounds all around, it all instinctively makes sense; but the brain stops just short of transcendence as the Story begins and we're transported to the Amazon.
It's an amazing, impressive performance; were it only a bit shorter.