Stay Awhile… Stay for The Red Death & Other Stories From Edgar Allen Poe

22218503_1729800080394782_765507268006924604_oTickets available via www.thecastle.ca
or call 250-592-5323 to book

Show times:
October 17, 18, 19, 24,
25, 26, 30, 31 at 8:00pm
October 20, 21, 27, 28
at 7:00pm and 9:00pm

With Performances by:
David Radford, Christina Patterson, Jared Gowen, Trevor Hinton, Diana Nielsen

When mid-October arrives, the Halloween season is in full swing and the terror can arrive in many a form. This week has Red Death & Other Stories From Edgar Allen Poe (Launch Pad Theatreand Rocky Horror Show (Atomic Vaudeville) opening for residents of Victoria, BC to enjoy. Those unable to get a ticket for the former (it’s nearly sold out) can wait for next year. The latter will always be around because it’s become a staple ever since it debuted on stage with thanks to Kaleidoscope Theatre.

Pardoning the cliché, to experience Poe’s works performed on a dark and stormy night at Craigdarroch Castle is a must. I’ve been a fan of interactive theater for a long time, and to choose between which show to go to get my pre-Halloween funk on was tough. Audiences either get to be part of the show or they are watching it with a slight wall between realities. With this season, the veil is best broken at the edifice upon a hill.

This play is worth seeing again because the stories presented will depend on the colour of the key you pick up upon entry. There’s red, blue or yellow. Technically, there’s another but under the low light, I did not notice. They are used to represent the different coloured rooms found in Poe’s tale and the coloured lights used suggests the purple room is the one to be fearful of, maybe. The partiers — Prospero (David Radford), Virginia (Christina Patterson), Christopher (Jared Gowen), Vincent (Trevor Hinton) and Liz (Diana Nielsen) — have personal stories to tell. What they recount are adaptations of Poe’s works and their perspective becomes very chilling. Whether that’s because of how to deal with surviving the Vietnam War, with free-love or civil rights, I was hooked. Gowen’s tale (Berenice) is particularly noteworthy, especially when told in the recreation room of this venue. There was an energy there which made him especially skittish in a good way. Radford’s own story (Ligeia) is not without some blood-curdling moments. To hear the boys rap in the opening act, I was impressed.

The Castle’s environment is fully utilized to suggest that at each corner, there’s more than history to recall. If only the walls could talk about the real-life ghosts said to occupy this venue. There’s nothing to be afraid of. They just want to make their presence known. Like the stories being told in this performance, it’s to alleviate some guilt the party revellers have. However, with the Red Death approaching, can they save themselves before it’s too late?

Yes, I will be back to see this show again to find out. There’s a total of eight stories audiences can see, and only three can be experienced per night, depending on the colour of the key they pick up at the start of the show. I will offer deeper thoughts in a followup on the sister site: otakunoculture.com (be warned, there are mild spoilers).

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