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Visitors – Darkfield Radio

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer: Glen Neath

Directors: David Rosenberg and Glen Neath

After scaring audiences out of their wits in shows such as Séance, Flight and Coma, performed in shipping containers, Darkfield have effortlessly moved into the digital world realising that fear is just as easily produced through a pair of headphones. Visitors, Darkfield’s new audio show, brings terror into your own living room, and you might think that you really do have some uninvited guests roaming your home.

Available three times a night, much of the success of Visitors depends on the quality of the audio, and the sounds coming into your ears seem so real that you may be looking over your shoulder for a figure behind you, and for some it may be impossible not to keep your eyes closed when instructed. Designed to be experienced as a pair, two of you download an app and listen to the story, separately through your own phone. You sit three metres apart and are told to turn off the lights. You wait and then two people enter.

Some of the next 20 minutes are very frightening, but the narrative doesn’t quite match the aural special effects, and it’s too easy for the mind to wander as the scene is set. It improves when we are asked to do things, but the fear comes from the unexpected rather than from the story. However, Darkfield excels in making familiar territory uncanny, and seeing your home, and your playing partner, in new lights is no easy feat.

Sitting three metres apart from your partner would suggest that this show has been created in response to the pandemic, but seeing as a huge swathe of the country is banned from going in each other’s houses, this might be best played with someone already in your social bubble. And with some shows starting at 10.30pm this could be played after the pubs have closed though it’s uncertain whether alcohol would heighten or numb the experience.

With a story that grips tighter, this could be the stuff of nightmares. But for now it still might prompt you to think a little harder about the things that go bump go in the night.

Runs here from 6 October 2020


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The Reviews Hub London is under the editorship of John Roberts.The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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