THEATRE – Coma at Summerhall


“Nothing will happen to you, but you will feel different..” States a disembodied voice as you begin immersive theatre experience, Coma.

[star rating =4/5]

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Over the course of the next 25 minutes the same voice will guide you through an exploration of the liminal space between consciousness and dreaming.

Lying back on individual bunk beds “wiped clean with surgical spirit”, the room fades to the kind of pitch darkness that leaves you grasping for any means possible to orient yourself.

There is little comfort to be found however, as the sterile aroma of the container and the ominous voice speaking to you through a set of binaural headphones envelops you entirely.

Coma is the latest show from theatre group Darkfield, once again set in the same claustrophobic shipping container. 

This is panic-inducing in itself without the addition of heavy philosophical concepts like Cartesian dualism being added to the mix. 

The set up makes for an entirely idiosyncratic experience, playing on individual paranoia and insecurities.

Sadly, just as you are beginning to wonder if this is how Schrodinger’s cat might have felt, the lights turn back on and you are jolted back to reality. Any interesting points which may have been raised by the all too brief experience are almost instantly forgotten.

Much likes its audience members in the dark, the show seems to be grasping at concepts that never quite come to fruition.

The real strength of the show lies in its physicality, an impressive feat for a show conducted in your mind, but it could have taken its concepts further.

Though it is unlikely to be revelatory to anyone who has seen Darkfield’s previous work Seance or Flight, it is undoubtedly unusual, immensely enjoyable and definitely worth seeing.