Flight takes place in a 40ft shipping container fitted out like the inside of an airplane. It’s eerily realistic – from the seats with fold-down trays, to the overhead lockers, to the metal seatbelts.
Round windows line one side of the plane and the audience files down the aisle, trying to find their seats among strangers. There will be no grasping the hand of your friends or family. Somewhere in front or behind you, the person you arrived with will find their own seat.
There are clues that something is amiss – the safety card in the seat pocket, for example, depicts a plane breaking in half.
Then, just as you’re about to take off, the plane is plunged into darkness.
The entire performance unfolds through binaural sound technology and the headphones over your ears. The engines roar around you; a flight attendant whispers in your left ear; a man behind you cracks open a Coke and you hear the fizz of carbonated soft drink.
Without sight, you are constantly trying to figure out the world around you. Everything about this experience – inspired by the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics – is designed to make you feel on edge.
There is no narrative, and after 20 minutes of unease, confusion and anxiety, it feels anti-climactic when the lights come up.
Nonetheless, Flight – created by UK company Darkfield Productions, which is also presenting Seance in the Garden – is an innovative production. It’s worth experiencing just for the spine-tingling set and sound.
Flight is in the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 17. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.
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