Before you step into a 40ft long shipping container, you’re asked to turn your phone off, to ensure a thick, complete, almost suffocating darkness inside, and given a warning: “if you want to leave the show, you will have a brief period when the lights come back on, and you can make a run for it…”
But screw your courage to the sticking place, remain in your seat, and you will be rewarded accordingly. You take a seat at the long table, inside the container decorated with antique wood panelling and sumptuous red velvet curtains, giving everything a suitably mysterious atmosphere. You put on your very swish noise-cancelling headphones, the lights go off, and then you are instructed to put your hands on the table. That’s when the fun begins.
I was super excited to see that SÉANCE was returning for another Fringe season, having missed out on tickets previously. I had no idea what to expect, and spent some time trying not to psych myself out while sitting in my seat, waiting for the show to start.
Though the first half seemed a touch too long, the suspense still builds nicely. Thanks to the pitch black, viscous darkness, and the 360-degree audio coming through the headphones, I had to remind myself that I was in a shipping container in the middle of Northbridge, and it wasn’t even dark out yet. I wouldn’t say I scare very easily, but I counted three long bouts of involuntary chills running down my spine and setting off my flight or fight instinct, even as my rational mind reminded me that this was all just part of the show. The brilliance of it is that the sensory deprivation isolates each person inside the container, giving everyone an extremely individualised experience, letting your imagination run wild.
#paintthetownfringe? #paintmeprettyimpressed. This tidy and innovative show delivered thrills and chills wrapped up in a short, sweet and scary 20 minute package.