You know the drill: check your boarding pass, find your assigned seat, stow your baggage in the overhead bin and fasten your seatbelt. Make sure your tray table is in the upright position, and make sure your window blind is open for takeoff. On a monitor in front of you, a flight attendant in a blue uniform details the safety features of this aircraft. She explains that you should take a minute to find your nearest exit, bearing in mind it might be behind you. As she adjusts her pink scarf, she... wait a minute, wasn't her uniform blue? The screen flickers and she's back to blue, and you wonder if you imagined the pink. And then the lights go out.
This is Flight, the latest immersive sound experience from Melbourne company Realscape Productions, the team behind the brilliantly scary Séance, which has had two successful runs in Melbourne. That experience was legitimately terrifying, conjuring up nefarious spirits inside a shipping container using nothing but cutting-edge 3D sound design and a few vibrations.
Flight is also in a shipping container, but inside it's been fitted out to look exactly like a plane, including overhead bins, real plane seats and real plane window blinds. If you find real planes uncomfortable, physically or mentally, you'll find this one uncomfortable. And that's before the plane plunges into complete, pitch-black darkness. And then the screaming begins.
Those with anxiety about flying will find Flight a nightmarish recreation of their worst fears. The clever use of directional sound in high-end headphones creates a complete narrative, as it sounds like those around you are getting up, talking to each other and to you, making strange decisions, whispering to each other – and to you. Those headphones, the realistic set design and some clever surprises put you in the world of a doomed flight. The show only lasts about half an hour. But by that time you'll be searching for your nearest exit, bearing in mind that it might be behind you.