The Encounter on Broadway - reviews

New York Times - Ben Brantley [Full review]

"Mr. McBurney and his ace sound designers, Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, have created an aural labyrinth of many layers. You’ll be watching Mr. McBurney’s lips moving in sync with what you’re hearing, only to discover that it’s just a recorded voice you’ve been listening to.

Did I say “just a recorded voice”? It’s a mistake to give undue value to what’s “real” over what’s a simulacrum of reality. With your earphones on, there’s no distinguishing between the live and the prerecorded, a blurring that allows Mr. McBurney to conduct very immediate-feeling conversations with his past selves."


Hollywood Reporter - David Rooney [Full review]

"the production's most astonishing artistry is the infinitely layered enveloping world conjured by sound designers Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin. Close your eyes and you might find yourself reaching for bug spray."


Variety - Matt Trueman [Full Review]

"Gareth Fry’s design piles up layers of sounds — recorded interviews, foley effects, a soundscape of McBurney’s home study. The effect is a soundcloud of a process, in which fact and fiction, past and present, research and production intermingle, spinning a story out of the air."


Talkin' Broadway - Matthew Murray [Full Review]

"the astonishing sound design by Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin ... play games with time, space, and thought you probably never thought possible. Echoes repeat and sustain themselves into infinity. Seemingly random noises layer into gorgeous but chilling tapestries outlining entire ecosystems. The British McBurney, simply by angling his head, can conjure an electronic American voice that rings utterly natural. Words transform into memory, which in turn become a wholly different reality, which is itself then subject to McBurney's tiniest whims. And if he wants you to become hot, cold, or despairing, or to escort you to the brink of death, he'll stand in exactly the right place and unleash his utterance in just the right way to ensure you're helpless in his hands. It really is all this precise. Perhaps the most arresting facet of this towering accomplishment is that it all feels as though it's been created just for you. Delivered as it is through a headset you're provided upon taking your seat, the soundscape is intensely intimate, which only makes the shivers cut deeper."


Time Out - David Cote [Full Review]

"Part mystic thriller, part tricksy aural illusion, The Encounter offers a meeting of ear, mind and soul you will never forget."


The Guardian - Alexis Soloski [Full Review]

"a triumph of binaural recording"


Exeunt - Nicole Serratore [Full Review]

" the show is heavily reliant on binaural sound to create a sonically immersive environment (the incredibly complex sound design by Gareth Fry and Peter Malkin is a great reason to resuscitate the now-defunct Sound Design Tony award). With the headphones, we have no distance from the events because the show is happening inside our heads. With the intimate power of sound, we give over entirely to what we hear, even if we know it is not real. We’ve been told that’s not an actual recording of a buzzing mosquito and when we hear it later as part of the artificial cacophony of jungle sounds we do not stop and question it."


The Village Voice - Miriam Felton-Dansky [Full Review]

"With sound designers Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, McBurney transforms our own relationship to reality, space, and perception through the constantly shifting sounds in our headphones. "


Epoch Times - Judd Hollander [Full Review]

"The other star of the performance is the sound design. McBurney himself acknowledges the considerable efforts of his sound design team, led by Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin—all of whom deserve the praise they have received."


Theatre is Easy - Ran Xia [Full Review]

" McBurney, with the help of sound designers Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, has turned the performance into a synesthesia-inducing, orgasmic auditory experience, "