I love ghost stories. I've always been fascinated by the paranormal and have had my fair share of unexplained encounters and experiences. In the world of immersive theater, I have noticed that there has been a shockingly low number of experiences that center around paranormal activity. When newcomers E3W Productions announced that their first event, IN ANOTHER ROOM, was going to center on a paranormal investigation of a haunted house, I knew I had to go.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre has gifted us with new dark delicacies in BRAVE THE DARK. As Zombie Joe himself primed our crowd before entering, BRAVE THE DARK is a gentle immersive experience packed with some of the same notes from cult favorites like URBAN DEATH or BLOOD ALLEY.
While there are some snippets of science sutured into this mix, the minds behind QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT made it palpable for even the most resistant science class drop-outs. Ruminating in romance and looping around feelings of loss, QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT matures alongside its main character while offering each stage of its story ample room to breathe.
The Vagrancy's NORMAL is the brightest light in all of 2017's Fringe Festival. And do not try to fight me on it. This hour-long theatrical work rocks its audience with a brand of potent simplicity and flawless dynamism befitting canonical pieces of high culture from the likes of Samuel Beckett or Peter Shaffer. Better yet, NORMAL proceeded to cling to me in ways those bits of high school required reading could not.
I love a good horror origin story, and even more, I love when it's presented in musical form. One of the most anticipated shows that had it's premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival was Chelsea Stardust's SLASHED! THE MUSICAL, which combined the aforementioned origin story and musical adaptation in a way that perfectly captured 80's horror, snarky humor, and the introduction to a new, if not slightly misunderstood, horror icon.
Dracula has always been one of my favorite supernatural monsters. Whether it was the image that Bram Stoker conjured up in his famed novel, "Dracula" or one of the many upon many adaptations of the vampire through films, television shows, and books. Though the presence of TWILIGHT threw me off my love for the blood thirsty creatures for a bit, I've begun to slowly creep back. Which is why I was looking forward to see a re-telling of Stoker's "Dracula" in Cadame Company's THE RISE AND FALL OF DRACULA for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Without a doubt, SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017's Fringe Festival. I chuckled, I chortled, and, after I got home, I cleaned blood splatter from my glasses. Director/designer Natasha Troop and Playwright/producer Marni Troop landed this triple-axle of horror, comedy, and romance with the finesse befitting a malevolent ice dancer.
In this day and age, with all that is going on in the world, crisis counseling doesn't seem like such a bad thing. We all face a crisis at one point in our life, whether big or small, and they can be life changing depending on the situation at hand. When I heard that there was going to be a show at Hollywood Fringe that focused on crisis counseling, titled DARK ARTS, I was more than intrigued. The artwork for the event showed a man and a woman, with serious expressions on their faces, almost as if they were ready to go into battle. Having just gone through my own "crisis", I figured, what the hell, let's see what their deal is and how they go about trying to help those who have found themselves in a dilemma.
Love is a tricky thing. Sometimes, it's the most marvelous feeling in the world, bringing two people together in harmony and devotion; other times, the passion burns so bright that love can't withstand the fiery spark. Good or bad, love is a powerful emotion that can evoke an array of emotions. This past week during the Hollywood Fringe Festival preview week I had the chance to experience two shows that center around love and loss, titled FIRE and LIGHT. These shows, which are part of The Firelight Collective and are created and directed by Stephanie Feury and Nathan Keyes, were beautifully tragic and left me with tears in my eyes.
If you are familiar with my writings, then you know how much of a fan I am of Zombie Joe's BLOOD ALLEY performances, as their first one was my introduction into the dark and macabre world of Zombie Joe's Underground Theater. With that said, when I heard that there would be a new show, simply titled BLOOD ALLEY 3, I was beside myself with joy. As much as I love the other shows that perform at Zombie Joe's, I always felt much more connected to how morbid BLOOD ALLEY could be as well as how it always seemed to push the envelope of what was acceptable in these immersive performances.
We've all experience bad dates. It's hard enough meeting a stranger for the first time, while working through if you truly have feelings for this person; it's even harder when that date takes a sharp left turn into red flags territory. Having had my fair share of horrible dating stories, my interest was piqued when I heard that the theater based company, Capital W, would be showcasing a new immersive production, aptly titled, RED FLAGS, about a bad date that goes very, very wrong.
The last few months I have gone down the rabbit hole, so to speak, with Speakeasy Society's "Kansas Collection". I've become fully immersed and emotionally attached to the dynamic players that consist of this re-telling of The Land of Oz. As each chapter delves deeper into the story, the emotions become that much more heightened as the audience tries to decipher who is being truthful and who is being devious. In their latest chapter, THE DOOR, we are posed a simple question: do you believe in destiny? Or, do you believe in inevitable consequences? A question that has stuck with me since the moment I found myself crossing over the threshold of that door.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend one of the newer immersive experiences in LA, Scout Expedition Co's, THE NEST. As is true with most events that I go to, I had no frame of reference on what I was about to experience, and truth be told, I kind of like it that way. Upon arriving at the designated time, my guest and I were led to a residential neighborhood, specifically someone's backyard, where a shed was located surrounded by a pile of boxes artistically arranged. I should have taken this as a clear indication of what I was about to experience as THE NEST is one of the most visually beautiful and heartbreakingly sad immersive experiences that I have encountered.
A few months ago, I stepped into the world of Oz through the immersive experience known as The Kansas Collection presented by The Speakeasy Society. This collection has been an ongoing journey broken up by chapters starting with "The Key." Having completed "The Key" by deciding to join the Scarecrow Militia, I was interested in seeing how the upcoming chapters would expand upon that and the search for The Patchwork Girl. To read about my experience with Chapter 1, click HERE, but be aware that both this review and that one contain spoilers, so if you plan on experiencing The Kansas Collection, I would wait to read the review till after.