As a general warning, there are potential spoilers in this review of Candle House Collective ’s CLAWS. You have been warned.
It’s getting closer and closer to Halloween Season and normally during this time, we’d be meticulously planning our schedules for seasonal haunts, conventions, corn mazes, costume designing, parties, and immersive experiences. But alas, here we are.
Fear not, though. The horror scene cannot and will not be stopped. For we are a community of artists, writers, and creative problem-solvers. And if we cannot physically go to the spooky, we shall bring the spooky to us.
Candle House Collective has risen to the occasion with its new immersive experience called CLAWS. Without giving anything away, the premise of CLAWS is that you are an operator for the special Etcetera Hotline. On your shift, you receive a call from a frightened teenaged boy named Danny who tells you that there is a monster in his closet. Your objective is to help out poor Danny.
Without a doubt, Candle House Collective ‘s CLAWS is the most innovative and effective immersive encounter I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. And because it’s remote, it’s 100% quarantine-friendly.
CLAWS is performed entirely over the phone, which means that your imagination is allowed to run totally wild, aided only by audio cues and sound effects. It’s also a one-on-one experience—you’re speaking to Danny in real-time and must try to give him the best advice so that he can survive the night, while assuring him that you believe what he’s saying. CLAWS is a theatrical performance, but it’s also an exercise in empathy and compassion. Logically, of course, you know that you’re not really an operator for the Etcetera Hotline and you know that “Danny” doesn’t really exist, and you know that there aren’t really monsters in closets (right?!).
But because of the nature of the experience, and thanks to the stellar performance of the actor who plays Danny (Vincent D’Avanzo) you can’t help but be completely and utterly drawn into this world of horror and mayhem. And it’s all done over the phone, in your own home.
Candle House Collective ‘s CLAWS was created by Evan Neidan, directed by John Ertman, and organized by Emma Crumpton, Derek Bado, and Kevin Garcia. Performances are sold out right now, but per the Candle House Collective website, you can snag a spot on their waiting list.
Trust me, it’s totally worth it.
Editor’s Note: CLAWS has run sold out since June, and Candlehouse Collective has just recently announced an exenstion just in time for Halloween season! Limited space is available Oct 1–Nov 3, and tickets are available now: https://candlehousecollective.com/tickets/claws