Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Coma

Totally different and worth a try!

Totally different and worth a try!

Presented by: Realscape Productions in association with Darkfield

Reviewed: 17 February, 2024

Not for the faint hearted!

If you are not sure what to expect from this interactive event, well neither was I. Described as an immersive audio experience at the forefront of technology and theatre, and with a variety of sensory effects where I would be situated at the centre of an unsettling narrative. Curiosity got the better of me!

It would not be suitable for all audiences, please note the warnings listed on their event page.

There is a small briefing before entering, as some may find this type of theatre disquieting. You enter the shipping container via a narrow corridor, which is furnished on either side by bunks, each one having a pillow, mattress, and headset. There is a pill there for you, should you choose to take it. (I had not realised having the pill was part of the initial experience and I must admit I popped it before the show even began; it is a good idea to be more patient).

The setting reminded me of being inside a cave. It had unadulterated darkness like when a cave guide had turned off the lights, a cool yet not cold temperature, and similar physical confinement. You place on the headsets which are set at a rather high volume, and it is truly the auditory experience that is the centerpiece of this show.

The headset fully covers your ears, and noises project into the left ear, the right ear, or both. The voices sound far away to close to you, and at times, whispering directly to you. At one point I grabbed my headset, as I thought there was someone right next to me! The darkness of the setting enhanced the auditory impact.

My friend who was positioned opposite my bunk (we both took the lowest bed of the opposing three tiered bunks) had a slightly different experience. Upon entering you are asked to keep your belongings at the end of your bed, with explicit instructions not to use your mobile phone light and to ensure it is tucked away at the end of your bed near your feet. 

Unfortunately, she was able to see one of the attendees occasionally using their mobile light. 

Her experience was marred by this occasional distraction to the otherwise sheer darkness of the room as she had wanted to keep her eyes open the entire time. As for myself, I alternated between having my eyes closed and open, just going with the flow.

As the mobile light did not affect my own experience, I gave this show a 5 out of 5. 

I definitely think this is an interesting activity to try as there really are no distractions. It is fully immersive. Besides, who doesn’t like lying down for a quick rest if you have spent a couple of hours in the garden?

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Venue: DARKFIELD – COMA at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Season: Friday 16th Feb – Sunday 17th March
Duration: 25 minutes
Tickets: $23-$27

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