Straight up – if you have any apprehensions about air travel, do not attend Flight!!
Stepping into this show was a total surprise. Knowing that Flight was just a temporary production, we didn’t expect to be walking down the aisle of a plane and (no joke) asking someone to get up so that we could take our seat.
But we did.
They’d designated seats before ’embarking’ and when we stepped onto the set we could see why. For all intents and purposes, this was an actual plane. We anticipated an approximation of a plane or, knowing that it was an audio-focused show, minimal theming with the show’s content doing the heavy lifting as far as immersion went. But no, we boarded a genuine plane set. Three seats in a row replete with all the expected paraphernalia; seat belts, passenger safety cards in the front pocket, overhead lights and vents… Seriously, it added so much to the experience that we had to stow our bags in the overhead compartment and then ask someone to let us pass into our seats. And when the show ended there was that same drawn-out wait as the people nearest the exit fumbled collecting their bags. The fact that none of this was part of the actual show speaks to the genius of this set. Darkfield put the audience in the mindset of flying by the very nature of the venue – no theatrics required! For anyone that wants a comparison – the London Underground train in Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park doesn’t feel as authentic as Flight’s plane set.
As for the rest of the show, you’re basically on a flight when strange stuff begins to occur – there’s a super funny but also legitimately unsettling moment that references screaming babies being the bane of many flyer’s lives. All of this is done via audio through the supplied headphones. There aren’t any actors here – it’s completely aural. It works though; the announcements, the people walking around, flight attendants speaking to you… They’ve gone to great lengths to make this an authentic experience. There’s a tiny bit more to the story than a plane crashing or not but that gets into specifics that we’d rather not discuss here!
It was then a slight shame that when Flight commenced, it immediately dived into the deep end. Once we were all seated, the safety announcements played on screen and they were maybe a bit too heavy-handed in suggesting that something was awry. By that we mean very noticeable glitches and odd behaviour from the onscreen flight attendant – we believe that it would’ve been better served by slowly easing into this rather than making it clear from the outset that all was not what it seemed.
Don’t get us wrong, the show was great. As amazing as the plane was, the lights were dropped (‘for take-off’) so the audio content had to do about 95% of the work as we couldn’t see anything after the first five minutes. And it was very much up to that task. For us, the narrative just went very meta a bit too quickly for our liking. We all expected the worst mere seconds after the safety video played. A slow drip feed of the fantastical elements would have worked better as it’d be much easier to throw us off guard when things took a turn. As it was, the opening minutes of Flight already primed us for an unpleasant journey!
However, we found the ending to be an inspired addition to the show. Again, it’d obviously spoil the production to discuss what took place but they’d devised a way of making your exit from the set in line with Flight’s story. It’s hard to describe how we felt stepping out of that shipping container. ‘Changed’ would be the best word! The closing couple of minutes had wormed their way into our thoughts more than we’d expected them to…
All in all, Flight was a fresh 30 minute experience that we’d recommend in a heartbeat – just expect it to get weird!!
EVENT NAME - COMPANY
+ The amazing set
+ The quality of the audio production
- Story revealed too much too quickly.
Flight is an incredibly deceptive production - don't let the external appearance of the venue fool you! We had an awesome time in there, we just would have preferred that it didn't play its hand as soon as it did.
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