”Séance” at the Pleasance Dome – Edinburgh Fringe review

© Sean Pollock

Darkfield are the patron saints of reclaimed spaces – taking dingy, unused shipping containers and transforming them into parameter-less worlds of terror, intrigue and world-building. They’re a regular presence at theatre and music festivals, providing short, sharp shows and occasionally tantalising excitement.

In Séance, two dozen or so of us unwitting punters are placed in pitch black, with headphones pumping binaural sounds around our heads. Whispers slide into ears as shivers trickle down the spine. Over the course of 15 minutes or so, beings from the afterlife are brought into our midst, jostling and banging around the space, climaxing in what is likely meant to be a possession.

It’s fleet, flimsy fun – using the binaural technology that was so utterly spell-binding in shows like Complicité’s The Encounter for something much more pulpy and shock-laden.

That comparison feels like comparing a c-rated horror movie with Apocalypse Now. There only seems to be a limited number of sound effects available to the team, while screeching, clattering doors reoccur far too frequently. At times shocking but rarely spooky or scary, it all feels about as insubstantial as the beings brought forth from the mysterious beyond.