COMA (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


Immersive performance sinks audience into the dark corners of consciousness

Darkfield return once again with their shipping container of horrors. Previous outings Seance and Flight explored fears surrounding the supernatural and of a plane spinning out of control – this year, the fear lies within, as they delve into the terrors that lurk in the mind.

Participants are filed in and made to lie down on bunk beds, where a metal dish with a small white pill awaits. Audience members are then asked to ingest the pill, before the container is plunged into darkness and a deep, sonorous voice fills the space.

As ever, Darkfield's design is flawless. The show's multimedia elements – the engulfing noises, the smells that hover over the clinical tang of a hospital – are spot on, and truly do create an immersive, heart-pounding experience. COMA's central conceit, however, doesn't entirely hit its mark. Certain parts are frightening, and they do elicit a helplessness that is akin to lying paralysed on a hospital bed, but things never truly take the psychological turn that is promised. The monologue is alternatively chilling and soporific, but fails to elicit much more of a response. As an experience, COMA is magnificently crafted, though there is the sense of promise unfulfilled as some dark depths are ultimately left unplumbed.

Summerhall, until 25 Sun, times vary, £7.50 (£5.50).


  • 3 stars

DARKFIELD Imagine the moment of waking up is actually the moment when your dream begins. In light of this new and strange reality, how can we save you from the unspeakable horrors which lurk in the dark recesses of your mind? The only cure we offer is a placebo and a promise. Please remember when you leave to take your…