Fringe theatre review: Double

Double is a work seething with energy and ideas, writes Joyce McMillan
Double is the first presentation to be broadcast on Darkfield Radio.Double is the first presentation to be broadcast on Darkfield Radio.
Double is the first presentation to be broadcast on Darkfield Radio.

Double ***

Best known for dark and scary immersive Fringe shows staged in a container outside Summerhall and across the world, the company called Darkfield (David Rosenberg, Glen Neath, Andrea Salazar) have not been slow to adapt to the age of Covid-19.

When the pandemic struck, they were already working on a new digital project, and along with the brilliant ­writer and solo performer Christopher Brett Bailey, they have worked at speed to produce – a little earlier than planned – their short online audio experience Double, designed to be experienced simultaneously by pairs of people the world over, sitting opposite one another at their kitchen tables – although solo ­listening, or listening with a friend online, is also possible.

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The subject of Double is the unsettling Capgras delusion, in which sufferers become convinced that a loved one has become replaced by an evil exact replica. However, over a brief 20 minutes – many of them dedicated to elaborate and creepy sound effects which make the ­listener feel that someone is prowling the cupboards and drawers around them with malign intent – the company barely has time to explore the deep resonances of this strange disorder, in the rush towards to a horror movie conclusion.

Double is a work seething with energy and ideas, in other words, but it often sacrifices the clarity of the drama to the complexity of the soundscape, and sometimes seem uncertain whether the sounds are there to dramatise the story, or is the story in this instance just a pretext for the sounds – and one that finally deserves a deeper and more nuanced treatment.

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