One of the first event for the LIFT Festival 2014, symphony of a missing room takes you on a journey around Burlington house of which the Royal Academy of Arts is housed. A guide first takes us into the exhibition rooms of the yet unopened Summer Exhibition and the audience is treated to a sneak preview of the show before it opens. The main part of the show involves a sound tracked audio headphones coupled with an opaque goggles and instruction for actions.

The soundtrack is filled with ambient noises, heels tapping on the wooden floor and other noises to create an alternative environment. There is a rather odd sounding high-pitched voice guiding the action though it eventually makes sense since it is meant to be a some form of guiding fairy or pixie.The loss of sight is disconcerting at first but a gentle guiding hand is comforting once a sense of trust is established. The journey takes the audience through light and darkness, lifts, stairs and even to the rain outside. But the lack of purpose in the exploration and the absence of a narrative and plot makes it a rather mundane blindfolded walking experience. There are some attempt to ask some profound questions but they are vague and rarely followed up. Also, the potential of audio headphones and technology has already been illustrated in Ring by Fuel Theatre. Here the coarse sound quality and lack of imagination in the sound scape is disappointing.

It is a shame that a great space like the Royal Academy of Arts is used and one of the first thing we do is to put a blind fold on. The same sentiment can also applies to the untapped potential for the audio headphones and the distinct lack of atmosphere of the piece.


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