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Fringe review: 1000 Doors

Adelaide Fringe

From opening the first door to closing the last, 1000 Doors is a claustrophobic maze of rooms and corridors that is equal parts haunting and nostalgic. ★★★★

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From creators Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who presented House of Mirrors at last year’s Adelaide Fringe, 1000 Doors features 400sqm of hyper-sensory spaces where sound, smell, touch and an uneasy curiosity is as much a part of the experience as the visual curation. It is an immersive and uncomfortably compelling experience.

On the way in the instructions are simple – close the doors behind you and don’t steal anything. Guests are encouraged to take their time and interact with the spaces; this is an installation where your interactions and reactions are a part of the creation.

There are dead ends, scattered photos, curtains to draw back, holes to peek through and plenty of doors to beckon you further and further into the labyrinth. The entire experience has a strong reference to every horror movie ever made – psych wards, religious symbols, abandoned houses, phones ringing, doors knocking, records playing.

1000 Doors. Photo: Sam Slicer

Tension constantly builds though sounds and smells that keep you right on a precipice that never climaxes.

The fuel to this tension, however, comes largely from the participants’ own inferences. Each person who walks through each door on each occasion will feel and react differently.

While tense and claustrophobic, 1000 Doors is also strangely comfortable and familiar; wallpaper is reminiscent of a grandparent’s house, a smell is sweet but unplaceable. What starts out as an intense experience by yourself or with those with whom you enter soon becomes more collaborative as paths are chosen and crossed.

1000 Doors is here to challenge people who cross its thresholds. Not every door is literal, so don’t get bogged down in counting door handles. There are mirrors, cracks, photographs and crevices – all portals to a different time or place. Take your time exploring.

Located in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, this experience upholds the core values of what the Fringe is all about – it’s affordable and experimental, takes you outside your comfort zone and gives you plenty to talk about over a drink afterwards.

1000 Doors is at the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 15.

See more InDaily Fringe and Festival stories and interviews here.

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