Double

Theatre, Drama
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
Darkfield Radio's creepy Double is the first audio-show selected by the Venice Film Festival
Photograph: Supplied Darkfield Radio's creepy Double is the first audio-show selected by the Venice FilM Festival

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The terrifying drama has become the first audio-only experience to be selected by the Venice International Film Festival

The creeping chill of Darkfield Radio’s terrifying immersive show Double has warped reality to its own ends, reshaping history by becoming the first audio-only entry to be selected by the illustrious Venice International Film Festival (running September 2-12 this year).

From the macabre minds behind shipping container-bound freak outs Flight and Séance, Double will stream out of competition in the Venice VR Expanded category, which showcases exemplary augmented and virtual reality productions against the best of the best worldwide. Up until now, the line-up has always fielded immersive films, so the eerie radio play-like Double totally breaks the mould. It’s no wonder they’ve been recognised alongside the big guys, including Marvel movie director Jon Favreau’s in-competition Gnomes and Goblins.

To say the team behind Darkfield Radio’s first audio-only experience are stoked to be recognised by such a prestigious festival, and in such illustrious company, would be an understatement. As such, they’re celebrating by extending the run right through to September 30. You can book tickets here.

Read our four-star review

Reality as we know it has become unmoored. Separated from loved ones, our homes oscillate between sanctuary and prison cell. Now, with the icy hand of winter creeping in around the edges of creaking doors, these strange and trying times are ripe for spooky stories.

Hearing our silent screams in the abys, immersive theatre company Darkfield are back to tear away our grasp of reality once more with Double. Masters at uncanny unnerving, their sensory-deprived shipping container-bound shows Flight and Séance combined the primal terror of pitch black with devilishly discombobulating audio trickery and disturbing suggestion. Flight’s mid-air disaster recreation threw out the lifeline that while death was imminent, the many-worlds theory allowed for a final destination somewhere disturbingly other. Séance similarly pulled back the veil between realms, connecting us to the shadows of lost souls trapped at the edges of perception.

While cramming into a shipping container is unwise for the moment, this eerie new audio work, the debut of Darkfield Radio, instead transforms our darkening homes into the site of  psychological drama hung on a demonic visitation. The set-up is simple. All you have to do is head over to the website and book a $10 digital ticket for a set time, then follow the instructons to download the app. When that hour arrives, don your headphones, open the app and enter this spooky audio play if you dare.

The show is best experienced in pairs sat across from one another at a table. Darkfield suggest the kitchen, but anywhere will do. We turned off all the lights, with a solitary candle casting an unexpectedly monstrous shadow flickering on the wall. It was a mercy when an oddly soothing female voice told us to close our eyes, but that respite was short-lived, with the seeds of doubt sown. “There is only one rule. Everyone has to be who they say they are.” 

“This is supposed to be a safe space,” a disturbed male voice responds, and that’s the dark majesty of this creeping show. Your home is no longer safe. Your partner is no longer your rock. Picking at what we think know to be true, Double explores the disturbing psychiatric disorder of Capgras delusion. Has the person we know and love been replaced by a doppelganger? If so, for what purpose?

The increasingly scritchy narrative preys on very real fears of domestic violence in a narrative that may be triggering for some, and will be deeply disturbing for most. All the while, glitching radio sounds suggest an unheard SOS. Ominously whispering and scratching at alternate ears, the calm voices we hear appear increasingly irrational, gnawing on our sense of safety and security. Is the person opposite us a monster? If so, what must we do?

From breaking glass to buzzing flies, all the classic horror tropes are here as the sinister soundscape sweeps you up in a wave of irrational fear. A short, sharp blast at only 20 minutes, it’s just long enough to have you racing for the light switch with one last anxious glance over your shoulder.

 

By: Stephen A Russell

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