It is not every day that someone apologies for calling me the c-word in a theatre auditorium – and it was certainly odd hearing a man I have never met before analysing the demise of our (apparently) intense relationship.

When up and coming theatre company the Scullions Neoterics warned their production of Neil Labute’s Autobahn was immersive, I should have taken them at their word.

This terrific performance was staged in the intimate surroundings of Swindon’s Shoebox Theatre on Saturday and Sunday nights. The premise is simple – seven conversations take place in a car. Each conversation slowly unfolds, reveals a back story and illuminates the characters. By the end, you realise how lives are about to be changed irrevocably – and not for the better.

Three of the conversations are dialogues, with the pair of actors sitting side by side behind car fronts. Four of the conversations are rather more one-sided – with the actors sitting in the audience incognito, until the moment they start to address the person sitting right next to them. It is unsettling to say the least, to realise I was now sitting in a car pulled over by the side of the road (the audience could hear the indicator), a part of the action of drama.

Inevitably some of the stories interested me more than others, but what was intriguing about all of them was the way each came slowly into focus. When you are dropped into the middle of a conversation with strangers, it takes a while to work out what is going on. Slowly what starts out as rather confusing begins to crystallise, and it is a credit to the brilliant writing that in each conversation, a moment arrives when you feel a shock of realisation about the true nature of the characters, or the relationship. To say more would take away the impact, but the outlook is not sunny.

The acting talent of this young company was remarkable, with no weak link in this ten-strong cast. Each was utterly convincing in their role, and kept the attention of the audience strung tight. It is hard to pick anyone out when the line-up is so uniformly strong, though Bill Bowden’s injection of dark humour into his performance was engaging, and Saili Katebe’s debut (he is primarily a writer and performance poet) was intense and compelling. Credit too, for the unobtrusive but effective soundtrack, which subtly set the scene for each of the conversations.

I would certainly watch any future performance from this talented theatre company – and they bring Autobahn back to Swindon for the Festival Fringe on April 15, at the Town Hall Theatre. Make sure you hitch a ride.