‘Possession: Fear Never Sleeps’ is an immersive horror experience developed by the team at Halcyon Playhouse and creative consultants Chantal Wilson (from Darkest Raven Designs) and Pat McMahon. The chilling event definitely contains adult themes. Ryan S. McNally’s company Halcyon produced ‘100’ an immersive show in July this year, it was gripping! This one has you sitting on the edge of your seat for the entire show.
The immersive experience has no audience participation, but if you have watched an unknown couple having a screaming argument in a shopping centre you are not involved but you feel totally trapped – that is the immersive experience. There, but helpless!
This production is about fear of the unknown at bedtime, sleep paralysis. This is not simply an inability to sleep or even sleep deprivation, this is something much worse. We have all experienced a falling feeling when nodding off to sleep but a quick jump and you are safe. Some may have been in a fight in their dreams and in the morning, you learn from a partner that you were lashing out and kicking – that is a nightmare. Then there is the situation when fear grips you so much that you cannot move, cannot shout – totally at every whim of the attacker.
This 70-minute, fast moving gripping show has no intermission or any way of leaving without destroying the enjoyment of others. Toilet before you take your seat and don’t go if you are sensitive. Late comers will not be admitted once the performance has commenced. Seating is VERY limited so please be advised – book in advance.
Halcyon Playhouse is in the Roxy Lane Theatre, 55 Ninth Avenue and Roxy Lane, Maylands. The Gatherings are each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7.30 until Saturday 14th December. There is a special late-night chiller on Friday 13th at 9.30.
As always Halcyon are generously giving all proceeds of programmes and the raffle to five worthwhile local charities.
The scene: is a basement room in a Government building that is only days away from demolition.
The set: designer Ryan S. McNally has created a room 10 metres by 5 metres, the walls of which are lined with polythene, tissue and gauze. Security tape is everywhere. The room is dimly lit. A line of chairs for the audience are against one wall, a short line of chairs opposite is for the group’s meeting. At the end of the room is an office desk, a potted plant and a small fan. In the middle of the room is a coffee table with a black cloth over it and a vase of flowers in the centre.
There are a few unusual props which were sourced by Chantal Wilson.
Zack Inglis has created the perfect soundscape of subtle threatening and creepy undertones that worked impeccably with Ryan’s lighting effects.
The stage managers who had an unusual routine on this production, were Dan Rooney and Jason Jones.
A sensitive forty-year-old lady, Delta (Devetta Ridgwell) and a twenty-year-old with attitude, Beck (Bernadette Ward) have arrived for their sleep paralysis group. The Delta immediately complains about the disgusting state of their temporary consulting room. A quiet introvert, Jason (Ryan S McNally) arrives for his session but has no desire to be there as he has been sent by the Authorities for a professional opinion.
A smartly dressed businessman, David (Paul Reed) takes out a clinical wipe and cleans his chair before sitting down. The young student with him, Anna (Nikita Harwood) looks withdrawn and nervous.
The group’s leader has taken ill and so he has sent a young enthusiastic psychologist, Dr Mitchell (Zack Inglis) in his place. On the doctor’s arrival the place explodes with complaints about the dirt, décor and unprofessional surroundings. The man is keen but not too sure how to handle this mixed group. After regaining the group’s confidence, he starts as though running an Alcoholics Anonymous group, where each person explains their nightly experiences. There is a reluctance to open up but slowly the session seems to be working.
This presentation has no script, only a tremendously well-thought-out storyline that each actor cleverly improvises around for the whole hour. They move randomly around the room, leaving the audience searching for stability and petrified as to where and when the next fright will come about. Creating genuine fear is a talent that few have.
This magnificent cast have developed strong and very different personalities. They all interacted and improvised flawlessly, superb unfaltering performances. A great idea perfectly carried out.
This multi-sensory experience ends with a terrifying climax – but is it really the end? YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.