When my boyfriend and I first moved to Cali and were getting acquainted with the haunt scene, we were told over and over again was that we HAD to go to DELUSION. At the time, I had no idea what it was but the excitement and passion that I would see from people who told me about it was contagious. Even though I wasn’t sure what I would expect or what I would be getting myself into, I knew that I had to experience whatever this theatrical event was. A few weeks ago I had the chance to attend DELUSION’S newest show, His Crimson Queen. I’m not even sure there are words to express what I experienced except that I truly fell in love with immersive horror theater. What I had just experienced in an hour’s time was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. DELUSION: HIS CRIMSON QUEEN is pure art with theatrical stunts and acting that left me breathless and wanting more. Combine all that with exquisite storytelling and unparalleled set design, DELUSION ends up being quite a force to be reckoned with.
What sets DELUSION apart from everything else that is out there is the ability for it to combine so many moving parts in such a seamless way while trusting the audience to keep the show moving forward. See, the thing about this show is that it relies on the audience’s participation for the storyline to move along and I can say with certainty I’ve never been so involved with a experience as I have with DELUSION. You are quite literally transported into the crux of a story and it’s up to you and your fellow participants to help solve the mystery that lay in front of you. What mystery is that, you ask? Well, I’m here to tell you.
His Crimson Queen is a gothic vampire tale that features everything from love, loyalty, dishonor, murder, and much much more. These aren’t your TWILIGHT type vampires, these are the ones that hide in the shadows awaiting the moment when you are left alone and vulnerable. These are the vampires from horror stories and urban legends of old and one of the reasons I absolutely loved the story that director Jon Braver wrote. I’ve always been fascinated with the stories and legends of vampires, whether they were the fictional work of Anne Rice or the tales told in secret throughout New Orleans; there has always been something fascinating about these undead creatures, almost a magnetism that would draw someone to them and once they sunk their teeth in you it was hard to walk away.
So what makes DELUSION: HIS CRIMSON QUEEN so incredible? Well, everything. To me, this was a completely flawless experience and one that I wish I could repeat over and over again. The story centers on us, the audience, as we are to play the children of a couple named Berke and Selene. We’ve always been under the impression that our mother Selene died in a fire, but our father Berke receives word that this may not be the case. Berke goes to investigate but while gone, communication is cut off. Now we, the children, must search for our missing parents and help piece together the mystery of our lineage while uncovering who our parents, and ultimately us children, really are. The story itself is beautiful, mysterious, and ominous which allowed the experience to have an added layer of depth and emotions. Even if the story was a stand alone, say a short novella or something similar, I would still be just as captivated. Everything is explained by the actors in such detail with such strong emotions and convictions that it’s hard to remember that you are watching a theatrical performance.
Speaking of the acting, this is where DELUSION shines. These actors were superb and devoted to their craft. They took on their characters with such intensity and devotion that not once did I see any of them break away from their role. They were extremely interactive, whether it be shielding us from harm, guiding us down long passageways, or holding our hands out of love, each and every actor we came into contact went above and beyond what is typically seen in immersive theater. I was blown away by their performances and impressed with their incredible talent, especially because some of these actors had a lot of obstacles they had to work with during their scenes.
As for the space itself, it’s probably the most impressive location I have gone too. The entire performance took place in a sprawling mansion in Los Angeles and each and every space within was used to the benefit of executing this show perfectly. Every room was designed to look as if it was inhabited by these creatures and it’s quite clear that the designers spent an incredible amount of time adding intricate details throughout. The space took up four or five floors and encompassed not only the main living spaces but also the attic and basement. Honestly, the space ended up becoming part of the show as it lent itself to helping us unravel the mystery of who we really were. You could almost say the mansion was a character itself as it knew exactly where to hide those who did not want to be seen.
Overall, DELUSION: HIS CRIMSON QUEEN is clearly the prized event of the Halloween season. This is a show that is not only put together by incredibly talented individuals but by those who have a passion for theatrics and storytelling. It’s apparent that there is a lot of heart and soul that goes into making each and every one of these shows and I feel so grateful that I was able to attend and share my experience with all of you. This show, this experience, this immersion is what interactive theater is all about. If you have the chance to go to this show, I urge you to try it, to let down your guard, and to trust that you are in for something you’ve never experienced before. I literally can’t say enough good things about DELUSION and I hope that more dates become available so that each and every person has the opportunity to meet His Crimson Queen.