Something that I've always appreciate about Zombie Joe's shows is the use of light vs. dark. I've always been intrigued by his performers abilities to set up a scene in pitch black with very little guidance. In Zombie Joe's newest show, BRAVE THE DARK, the use of light vs. dark once again plays a pivotal role. BRAVE THE DARK is an immersive experience in which the participants are led throughout the building only by a faint lantern held by a ghostly woman. As we are shown around we encounter vignettes depicting modern day horrors and hidden secrets, and unlike Zombie Joe's other shows, where we sit and watch the action unfold, we are thrown into the pit to become part of the act.
As someone who is just getting into immersive theatre and haunts, I had no expectations for what to expect, which I think added to the experience. I was in a group of 8 people and before being let in we were instructed that we would need to be blindfolded. Once inside, and once the blindfolds were removed, it was incredibly disorienting as we were in pitch black with no idea where to go. To me, this was one of the best parts of BRAVE THE DARK. It's unnerving and slightly frightening to be somewhere that you aren't overly familiar with only a sea of black in front of you, especially when you don't know if there could be someone following you, ready to attack at your most vulnerable moment...
As we were led throughout the space our lady of the darkness guided us with her lantern to each vignette where we were to witness acts of depravity and horror. What I really enjoyed about this was when the actors would break the fourth wall and interact with us. The whole experience is very voyeuristic but it's taken to the next level when we as the audience are then brought into the situation to participate. When it comes to what is in the vignettes I'm being vague for a reason. It's better to experience and interpret BRAVE THE DARK for yourself then for me to tell you what is constructed. The best description I can give is what a friend of mine said, it's like a walk-through haunt of Zombie Joe's URBAN DEATH show. If you are familiar with that show and enjoy it as much as I do then BRAVE THE DARK will be right up your alley. What really makes this show incredible is the immense talent that these actors and actresses have. It's remarkable how well they stay in character no matter how terrifying (or humorous) their scenes may be and I always leave feeling blown away by their talent and dedication.
As of right now, groups of 6-8 can go in at a time. I found that our group, 8 in total, was too big and I didn't get to experience everything I was hoping to. However, that did not take away from the entirety of the event as there were many times I found myself uncomfortable and on edge because I was not sure what was going to be around the corner. Though I'm not as familiar with immersive experiences, I would have liked the actors to have been a little bit more rough with us, not to the point of choking me out or anything, but I wanted to feel a bit like my safety was in danger. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed BRAVE THE DARK, and I really feel like it's a unique experience that's different from a lot of other shows out there. For those just getting into immersive haunts/theatre/etc this is the perfect gateway to get you comfortable with this type of experience. For those who are seasoned veterans of extreme haunts etc, this may pale in comparison but Zombie Joe brings his unique touch to the event and I'm positive you'll find something enjoyable, if not maybe a little creepy, about the whole experience.
BRAVE THE DARK is a limited run and will only be performing for the next two weekends, July 15 & 16 and July 22 & 23 on FRIDAYS and SATURDAYS, beginning at 11:00pm with (5) performances nightly: 11:00pm/11:20pm/11:40pm/12:00am/12:20am.
For more information and to reserve tickets go to ZombieJoes.Tix.com.