There's one guaranteed way to keep audiences on the edge of their seats and that’s by denying them an interval.
Over one non-stop hour and 40 minutes, we’ve no escape from the strange insular world where we find ourselves in what’s billed as a “sci-conspiracy thriller”.
We’re fully immersed in this remote island community, with its odd noises and odd people who, we gradually come to realise, wear ear-plugs to give them some respite from an ever-present sound that most have learned to live with, although sometimes they’re on the brink of going stir-crazy and have to be calmed down.
Only 17-year-old Charlie (Rachel Gay), who has a knack of analysing noise, and her geeky pal Harry (Jerry Killick, who undergoes a great transformation later into a sinister new arrival) ask questions about its source, while her mother Frances (Viktoria Kay), in chunky knitwear and furry hats (and a tongue-in-cheek nod to Fargo), represents island law and comes down heavy on anyone rocking the boat.
An atmospheric, disjointed soundscape and cold metal set with a radio tower and eerie blue outline of an iceberg that has made a sudden offshore appearance all add to an unsettling sense of mystery, while additional sounds of wind and seagulls conjure up such a sense of place we can almost smell the sea air.
This Northern Stage co-production with Unlimited Theatre writers Clare Duffy, Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe – which is due to tour after its Newcastle premiere – grows on us over that running time into an intriguing, off-kilter story touching on conspiracy and control with a hidden hatch (in the style of TV series Lost) and a few red herrings along the way.
We might be left with a question mark over that iceberg but we don’t mind as the story’s ending has plenty in it to satisfy.