Review | Let yourself be possessed by Séance

Séance | The Palace Society | til Feb 10th | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Do you like scary movies? If, like me, you’d answer yes to such an inquiry, then my word is this the show for you. Séance is a scary movie taken to the next level… and then some.

An immersive sound experience, Séance finds you locked in an air-conditioned shipping container with fellow audience members for 20 minutes of terrifying fun. The interior is a masterful  recreation of old world Victoriana parlour, even down to the wallpaper. And just like those old world traditional séances, yes, those are tiny brass bells suspended from the ceiling. These are so you know when the spirits have arrived.  

You each don a pair of headphones. Then you place your hands on the table in front of you.  The door to the shipping container slams shut. The lights go out. Flash back on. Then go out again. For good.  

What follows is a masterfully executed exploration of a séance. An unidentified voice, whom we shall call The Host, begins speaking. The sound is so incredible that it actually feels as though The Host is right there with you. Add to the fact that it honestly feels as though there is somebody moving about in there with you, and reality collapses into a black void, tethered to you only through your ears.

Ok… there definitely has to be someone else in there. The table actually moves. That can’t all be just sound can it? Do our brains work in such a manner that, when we are fed input via only one sense, we fill in the gaps, imagine things are moving because our hearing suggests it so? Well… yeah. Which is what makes Séance so brilliant: you have to trust what you hear, even though you don’t want to.

Don’t worry… it only lasts 20 minutes. Keep telling yourself that. Laugh if you have to. Just, whatever you do, DO NOT take your hands off the table. At all. Even if… oh my god, what fresh hell is The Host whispering in your ear now!?! Oh no… no no no no no! Somebody, please, turn the lights back on! NOW!!!

The hype around this show is all true: Séance is a brilliant terrifying experience not to be missed. It might be relatively short, timewise, but trust me, you’ll be glad that is. I left this show with my hands pulsing from adrenaline, my mind racing to try and comprehend the logistics and technical skills required to pull off this flawless work of terror. Thing is, I couldn’t figure it out completely, which makes it so good. So come, do Séance. Let yourself be possessed by this brilliant experience.

Warning: this is the kind of show that, afterward, you might wanna grab a stiff drink and, possibly, smudge yourself with some sage? Or combine the pair! Sage and gin go great together!

Séance is at The Palace Society until February 10th. Tickets and more information available from fringeworld.com.au

Scott-Patrick Mitchell


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