Seance by Darkfield - Photo: Sean Pollock Photography

Two brutal metal shipping containers sit incongruously outside the tidy modernism of Norwich’s The Forum – and inside lurk even more unlikely scenarios.

Audio theatre company Darkfield has brought two of their shows to the city in conjunction with Norwich Theatre: Séance which is set in Victorian medium’s parlour, and Arcade a choose-your-own-adventure that plays homage to retro computer games.

Tonight we’re trying out Séance and swapping a bright June evening for the pitch black confines of one of the containers. The audience, a small gaggle of nervous-looking participants, shuffle in to sit either side of a central table and don headphones that repeat ‘left ear, right ear’ in an uncertain robotic voice.

Getting that configuration right is important, as the show relies on cleverly recorded audio to transport you into the story and to trick your brain into believing people are walking around you and whispering into your ear, items are crashing around you, and the spirits are with us. This is theatre, but the virtual kind.

We’re invited to put our hands on the table and keep them there to contain the spirit. Does the table move? Do your fellow audience members keep their side hands in place? In the darkness you just have to believe.

It’s an unnerving rather than scary tale, though the power of the sound is such that despite repeatedly telling yourself that you’re safe you can’t help but breathe along with the phantom people around you and get feel your heartbeat shift to match the audio track.

Voices genuinely surprise you, sneaking out of the darkness and pouring poison over your shoulder. You really are transported.

It’s a captivating 20 minutes; an experience well worth trying both for the power of the story telling and the technical brilliance.

  • Séance and partner piece Arcade, both by Darkfield, continues until Sunday, June 16, 2024. Tickets from Norwich Theatre.