Edinburgh Fringe 2018
You enter a shipping container in which there is one half of the cabin of an aircraft. Over the next 25 minutes you are plunged into darkness where your ears are your principal sense and some events happen in your ears that may cause the nervous flier to feel less than secure. The feeling of flying is well imagined and achieved as the cabin shakes, you get the feeling of the wheels on tarmac and the essence of flight without ever leaving the ground.
This is an immersive experience that works but perhaps works best in places where your sense may already be faded – such as part of Latitude as this has been. The entering of a dark space is fine, the idea of being in somewhere that may move without actually moving equally fine and the loss of any sight is not troubling. I was, however, hoping for a more troubling and scary event but that sounds like that is just me. Those around me seemed to be very fine with it and quite taken. I was less moved.
Once onboard you have headphones to get on and listen to some distorted narrative. This has been set up by the video screen which is already showing signs of dipping in and out of normality – it scrambles and is disrupted whilst trying to get through things like the safety announcement and welcome.
There is no denying the cleverness of the idea nor its execution, but I was left wondering just how much of the experience was something I enjoyed because of the event and how much there was theatrically to admire.
Halfway through they do bring some lighting up and there was an effect – I shan’t spoil it for you – that was impressive, and I realised why there was a curtain half way down. I had perhaps hoped for some zombies or scary clowns but nah – none boarded.
I can say that having stewardesses in my ear makes their presence feel very near and though I am sure nobody was walking up and down the aisle I was aware that I felt they might be! So, it worked for me on that level but there was more of the been cooped up with strangers feeling than the I have been experienced something that was innovative and exciting feel to it.
Again, though I seemed to be alone in that and the genius of it all may be to deliver an experience that has little by ongoing cost but much by way of ongoing revenue – which theatre company would not look on with envy at that!