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Review: Flight at the Garden of Unearthly Delights

By Carly Fisher

From the creative team that brought the 2018 hit Séance to the Adelaide Fringe (and Sydney Festival) comes a new work, Flight, that asks audiences to go back inside the unusual theatrical space – a 40 foot shipping container – and once again open their minds (and ears) to an experimental theatrical work.

Prior to entering the shipping container, we are given our safety briefing, thanked for choosing to fly this airline and provided with our Boarding Pass. If you are ‘traveling’ with other passengers, there is no guarantee that you will be sitting together as you are given a row and seat number.

When you walk into the shipping container you a treated to a fully decked out internal of an aircraft. Bags can be placed overhead or under the seat in front of you, you take your seat, buckle your seat belt and give your attention to the small tv screens in front of you. Whilst the tv screens offer regular footage of a flight attendant to start, it is not long before it is malfunctioning and you are certainly questioning the ability of (what you obviously know already is) this doomed airline. The safety cards in the pocket in front of you detail what to do if the plane splits in half solidifies just how bumpy this ride may be.

Head phones on (this is an audio experience that is completely reliant on your wearing of the headphones throughout), lights off, and it begins.

I went in expecting to be terrified. I waited for the plane to crash, for the air masks to drop, for extreme turbulence, etc. I’d say too that this was the expectation of those around me as we all entered the ‘aircraft’ looking nervous but excited for what could be ahead.

Unfortunately none of this happened. Our fears were unwarranted – bar a few freaky words from the captain, the experience as a whole was far from terrifying but also, sadly, far from thrilling.

I love what Realscape Productions and Darkfield are proving – theatre can take place beyond the traditional stage and the audio experience can be at the heart of a performance. Both companies – Australian and UK based respectively – have contributed greatly to this new form of theatre and I think have truly opened the door for alternative theatre to be widely accepted and engaged with.

That said, at the end of the day Flight was just simply underwhelming. I think that the base of the concept is absolutely there and, with further additions to the experience, could definitely be an amazing concept. Running at just 30 minutes, too much emphasis was put on the briefing and set up, and not enough on the rest of your ‘flight.’

For now unfortunately, Flight just didn’t quite hit the mark. I look forward to seeing what else comes from these companies in the future.

Photos Supplied by Carly Fisher

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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