FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Seance: An Immersive Experience | 4.5 stars

By Laura Money

Immersion: deep mental involvement in something.

The definition of immersion (apart from being fully enclosed in water) refers to the mind being totally involved. But how does one guarantee full mental involvement? Seance: An Immersive Experience engages all of the senses to create something truly spectacular – it harnesses the imagination.

Part of Seance’s success comes from the total deprivation of the physical environment. Standing outside near The Noodle Palace at Elizabeth Quay, the audience mill about the carpark in broad daylight – warily eyeing a small, unprepossessing shipping container. Its mysterious allure pulls at you – you wonder how could a full Victorian seance experience possibly be held in a modern, white shipping container? Of course, it’s all about atmosphere – the nervous crowd laugh when told to turn off mobile phones, remove glow-in-the-dark watches or even nail polish (!) with the restlessness of people waiting to board a plane before skydiving.

In the Victorian era, people became obsessed with speaking to those who had passed over. Perhaps because there was so much death, the rise of clairvoyance and contacting the dead became a huge cultural phenomenon – even being embraced by luminaries such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The creative team at Seance have crafted their experience into the perfect microcosm of this rather distinct era. Upon entering the shipping container, the audience is greeted with a long table and row of foldable, plush theatre seats. There is tin-pressed wallpaper and dark-hued lamps, and of course, the ubiquitous bell – for the spirit to yank on when it makes contact.

The Seance is delivered via noise-cancelling headphones with a personalised soundscape in complete darkness. That’s right – the lights turn off and there is absolutely no way to see in front of you. Without giving anything away, you will be deliciously terrified for the next twenty minutes. It’s so well-devised that the show moves in a heartbeat – the soundscape so brilliantly crafted that it feels like the room is far bigger than it is, and each person will feel personally attended to.

This is for anyone with a penchant for the macabre, the mysterious, and the decadent. It is not for the faint-hearted…only go if you are prepared for your spine to tingle and your hair to be raised. So, go ahead and let the spirits walk among you – and celebrate the things that go bump in the night!

WHEN:    19th January – 11th February | Various times

WHERE: The Palace Society | Elizabeth Quay | Perth

INFO:    Tickets $20 | Duration 20 mins | Warning: not for those who are claustrophobic, pregnant, have heart or back problems or are under the age of 14




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