Fringe review: Flight

Have your boarding passes ready and check your expectations at the door as you prepare to embark on a frightening journey into the unknown with Flight. ★★★★ ½

Feb 26, 2020, updated Mar 02, 2020

Returning to the Adelaide Fringe after a successful 2019 Australian debut season, Flight has been revamped with a new flight plan designed to challenge your perceptions of reality.

As its name suggests, the experience is set on an airplane (re-created within a shipping container in the Garden of Unearthly Delights) and takes audiences on a journey across multiple universes – each one filled with disturbing scenarios which are both possible and impossible, depending on individual interpretations.

Flight plays out almost entirely in darkness – a brilliant technique designed to rob participants of one sense while simultaneously heightening others – and the result is a truly creepy experience. Without vision to guide you, your spatial awareness becomes distorted and your imagination takes over, fuelled by the disturbing array of sounds which echo throughout the cabin.

Like its sister shows Séance and Coma (both of which are also in the Garden), Flight uses binaural sound technology to create a 3D listening experience that is impressive and disorientating; you can never be sure where the sounds are coming from or who (what?) made them.

The extensive repertoire of sound effects has been expanded since last year and, while most add to the tension and suspense, some are unnecessarily loud, creating an uncomfortable – and at times ear-piercingly painful – listening experience.

The show’s use of actual airplane seats creates a realistic setting that only becomes more disturbing as the lights go out. If you weren’t afraid of flying before, you may well be after seeing this show. Those who suffer from claustrophobia may struggle in the dark confines of the container.

Presented by Melbourne-based Realscape Productions in association with UK company Darkfield, Flight is the second instalment in Darkfield’s series of immersive, multi-sensory theatre experiences. Even if you saw it during its Fringe run last year, it is worth a second look due to the changes that have been made.

It’s a nail-biting experience that will leave you questioning your grasp on reality.

Flight is playing in the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 15.

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