By TC Phillips
The air was thick and soupy, each laboured breath heavily pregnant with anticipation. Days of rain had given a brief pause, just long enough to stop the wet yet not so long gone that the stars were completely obscured by a blanket of darkness. In this, a mixed group of friends and strangers gathered nervously, making light of the screams that could be heard off in the distance but failing miserably. The parkland we gathered outside of would be an eerie nighttime meeting place at the best of times, now it seemed positively sinister.
“Carson is expecting you.”
From the darkness, the meagre light of a single torch pierced the black shroud that seemed to swallow the walking paths whole. A thin sliver of a girl appeared, beckoning the group forward and counting off their names. “Carson is expecting you,” she says, before she slips back into the shadows to see if our new host is ready to greet us. Confusion patters through the group. There is something off about the girl, but we wait patiently for her to return in the absence of any other clue as to what awaits us.
“Carson is ready. He is looking forward to meeting you all.” The girl has the nervous bearing of a delicate thing long broken, but we follow her and strange murmurings as we are led off into the dark. Every shadow seems to crowd around us, unseen eyes following our every move and then we are led to our first puzzle of the evening. The riddle which awaits us is just the start of the twisted game which would unfold around us, drawing us into the story of murdered innocents and vengeful spirits.
Rising Waters, a sequel of sorts to Hunted Interactive’s debut show Dark Lark, was an experience unlike any to visit Rockhampton before. A Western Australian performance group, Hunted Interactive has previously brought its thrilling encounters to audiences in Australia, New Zealand and across Britain, and most recently to Queensland towns including Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone. From those very first moments, right up until we were made to run for the final safety of the show’s final station-turned-comments book, the Hunted performers delivered a spooky delight, which was not only frightening but genuinely intriguing. And whilst our erstwhile host, the killer dubbed Carson, certainly provided a definite creep factor, it was the performance of his many victims which made the night so entertaining.
If I had only one complaint for the night’s events, it would be that the time we spent navigating the twisted storyline and intriguing puzzles seemed to go by all too quickly. By the end of the night, I would have loved to remain longer in the world they had conjured, lost in the demented world of death and vengeance, of mystery and intrigue. But, alas, as we navigated our way back out from the shadows the real world greeted us once more, but I couldn’t help but smile as a nervous voice greeted a new group of unsuspecting victims:
“Carson is expecting you.”
I only hope that Hunted will take it upon themselves to return, and offer us more of their unique immersive performances. If you ever get the chance to experiences for yourself, I highly recommend it... if you dare.