Review: Flight by Darkfield

Darkfield's follow up to Séance is an entertaining half hour that doesn't quite take off.

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 04 Aug 2018
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Flight by Darkfield

The clue to this new immersive show by Darkfield, the company responsible for last year’s nerve-jangling Séance, is in the name of a missing passenger: Mr Schrödinger.

Yep, there’s a massive in-joke when you step into the container outside Summerhall and take your seat in a nicely realistic recreation of the interior of a plane. We, the audience, are all the cat in the Austrian physicist’s thought experiment, existing (in theory) in a quantum state until we’re let out again.

It’s a neat synthesis of physics with people’s paranoia about flying. Who hasn’t felt a bit like they’re neither dead nor alive until they’re safely back in an airport terminal? A flight is also a transition between places, which the show links to the idea of alternate universes.

We’re pitched into darkness, reliant on headphones to evoke the off-kilter world of our increasingly metaphysical flight. Darkfield successfully twists standard cabin announcements into uncannily disturbing, whispered warnings.   

The show also squeezes in some humorously surreal jabs at universal passenger grumbles, like an escalating chorus of bawling babies. It’s hilariously—and, you suspect, intentionally—similar to sitting next to someone complaining at the theatre.

But where Flight falters is in generating an intense enough level of anxiety to give wings to its darkly comic voyage into existential dread. There are some mild hydraulic bumps along the way, but the fear is more in the idea than in the experience. It’s definitely an entertaining ride, but one that feels a little too grounded.