Coma- Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Returning to the Fringe for the third year in a row, Darkfield present another eerie and immersive audio experience.
The novelty of walking into a shipping container will never get old, and Darkfield have taken this technique a step further in their newest performance Coma. The performance is delivered through head phones while the audience lie in pitch darkness in stacked, clinical white, bunk beds. Coma is more abstract than Darkfield's previous work, and while this at times is very effective, it also becomes the performance's downfall.
The audio is as crisp and terrifying as ever, suggesting that the audience have taken a pill that has paralysed them but left their audio senses alive. It is impossible not to squirm as the characters pace up and down the shipping container and whisper in your ear, achieving a petrifying feeling of paralysis and surrender. Coma also embraces your other senses, including smell and touch, so that this piece is the most immersive of Darkfield's yet, while denying you the comfort of sight.
The narrative of Coma is unclear, though. Are we in an apocalypse? Are we tests in an experiment? While the uncertainty is unnerving it also leaves gaps in the curation of this experience which may make the piece less scary than Darkfield's previous works. It is difficult, if all details aren't given, for your mind to not wander and thus, the effect of the show is lost.
Nonetheless, Coma is still a testament to Darkfield's skill in audio creation and the delivery of unique and terrifying experiences. I only would have liked a bit more narrative, simply because I know how scared this company is capable of making me.