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Darkfield at London’s King Cross | Review

Flight Darkfield - Credit Mihaela Bodlovic.
Flight Darkfield – Credit Mihaela Bodlovic.

Nestled in Lewis Cubitt Square in King’s Cross you’ll find three, unassuming, white shipping containers, each with a word painted on it; “SÉANCE,” “FLIGHT” and “COMA”. Inside, three intense and immersive shows form part of Darkfield, an anthology that brings us closer to some of our greatest fears as humans, in life and in death. Though each container has its own theme, there is definitely an overarching subtext of Darkfield and they make us question what is real and our sanity. All the shows take place in complete darkness, and the headphones produce an immersive sound design that brings the experience to life.

Stepping into the white shipping containers I can’t help but be a little nervous and immensely curious. There are some performances where walking in not knowing what to expect greatly heightens the experience, and this is definitely one of those shows. The shows can be watched as stand-alone experiences, or as part of the anthology, and the shows are 20 or 30 minutes long. Prior to every show, the group about to enter the containers are advised over and over again, that if darkness and claustrophobia are frequent enemies, these shows are not for you. If you want to step into the containers without any expectations, then stop reading now, and just know that you’re in for an intense and immersive sensory experience in the dark.

SÉANCE is a 20-minute experience. Inside the shipping container is a long table, with seats on either side. We’re instructed to put the headphones on as the lights are turned off, and the experience begins. Through the headphones, we’re introduced to the character who’s leading the séance and he tells us to put our hands on the table. We’re constantly pushed to believe in him and in the experience, and everything starts to come alive in the dark as the spirits are summoned. Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual bang, and that is the case with SÉANCE. I’m sat expecting something worse to happen but in the end its all mainly in your head.

FLIGHT is a 30-minute experience, set on a plane. All the passengers are given random seat tickets before entering the container. The in-flight video plays a flight attendant that welcomes you onboard. In a parallel universe, the same plane is about to take off, but only one will land. As you’re immersed, you’ll experience both flights, leaving you feeling both alive and dead. FLIGHT utilises mechanics that make the experience feel realistic and as the plane is about to crash, a moment of tension certainly sets in. The flashing lights through the windows also create an ambiance of panic.

COMA is a 30-minute experience. Inside the container, on either side, are rows of white, sterile bunkbeds. Lying down, with the headphones on, you are given a choice: take the pill, or don’t take the pill. As you’re drifting off, prompted by a soothing and enigmatic voice, all your senses are invoked as the scents of surgical spirits and coffee swirl around you, a breeze moves over your body, and the lighting states change both drastically and calmly. This show felt intensely real and surreal, and still has me thinking about it.

As long as you’re not afraid of the dark, there is a show here for most souls. If you only experience one, I would recommend COMA as my personal favourite, but it certainly is an adventure to travel through the anthology. As a multi-sensory, sonic theme park, Darkfield has created a new world within these shipping containers, that will leave your mind racing and questioning what was real.

4 stars

Review by Olivia Jannesson

Three intense and deeply immersive experiences in pitch darkness are waiting for you: Séance, Flight and Coma. Step inside, put on the headphones and soon the lights will go out.

After welcoming over 120,000 audience members worldwide, three sold-out Edinburgh Festival runs, and a sold-out run in Canary Wharf of all three containers, innovative and risk-taking theatre company DARKFIELD bring their shows to Lewis Cubitt Square in the heart of King’s Cross’ creative neighborhood.

The three shows – Séance, Flight and Coma – will run daily from 28th Feb – 22nd March, with numerous showings each afternoon and evening. Press are invited to attend performances individually or all the three shows can be seen in one evening. Details further down.

SÉANCE, the first DARKFIELD experience, transforms the interior of a 24ft container into a Victorian séance room. Over 20 minutes it explores the psychology of a group of people, and asks that they believe, not only in what seems to be happening inside the container but also in what might be conjured up into the room with them.

FLIGHT is the second DARKFIELD experience. The 40ft container’s interior exactly resembles an Airbus 320 economy cabin and over 30 minutes transports audience members into two parallel worlds: two realities offering two possible outcomes to their journey.

COMA
Imagine the moment of waking up is actually the moment when your dream begins. In light of this new and strange reality, how can we save you from the unspeakable horrors which lurk in the dark recesses of your mind? The only cure we offer is a placebo and a promise. Please remember when you leave to take your body with you.

LISTING INFORMATION
28 February to 22 March 2020
Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross
http://www.darkfield.org/

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