Review: Pitch Black at the Harlow Playhouse

News / Tue 28th Oct 2014 at 06:50am

By Jo O’Reilly

WHEN you hear that the reason a group of 14 year olds have been corralled outside a scare attraction so a ‘code yellow’ from the previous visitors is cleaned up, you can only assume one thing. It’s going to be scary.

We’d turned up 15 minutes early for our 9pm appointed time slot, the group of teenagers ahead, some already in their red boiler suits were waiting to go in, as the attraction was, I hope sterilised. We were able to watch them decide whether they really were brave enough to enter pitch black after all. Several entered, and then turned straight back around having barely made it into the first corridor.

Eventually with the brave ones through, and the not so brave changed back out of their boiler suits it was our turn. Having been pre-warned that you would go through in twos I had taken a friend. This would give me someone to hide behind as frankly, even automatic doors have a tendency to make me jump.

Waiver signed and with just the one glowstick between us to light the way we entered Pitch Black, it really is pitch black. My eyes might have adjusted if I had been brave enough to keep them open the whole time. The creepiest thing is the disorientation, with no light source, and black walls, you really have little idea if you’re going the right way. When dead children start jumping out at you in blood-splattered aprons, it can be hard to keep your bearings.

Crawling on all fours and climbing up a ladder also pose new logistical problems when your eyes are closed tight with fear, although it’s probably not that much easier with your eyes open in the dark.

I couldn’t give you an accurate guess of how long it lasts, it seemed at points endless. You’re not actually chased through, but you might as well be as your natural instincts propel you to find the exit as quickly as possible. This becomes increasingly trickier, particularly when you find yourself at the bottom of a slide surrounded by nothing but pig’s heads.

If you’re looking for something a little different this Halloween, and aren’t suffering from any heart conditions, then Pitch Black is probably for you. If you find the idea of being trapped screaming in a dark room, unable to find your way out, in anyway traumatic, you might want to give it a miss.

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