Review: The Curiosity Experiment
Reviewed by Bonnie Baguley
Performance art delivered to a blindfolded audience was a concept that had me intrigued and The Curiosity Experiment did not disappoint.
Ecclectica’s eerie atmosphere, complete with porcelain skulls, sacred place guides and cursed cookies, set the mood perfectly. In the midst of the oddities we find a table laid for a dinner party and a letter from our absent host Mrs Delamere welcoming us to her annual get together. The family butler, played by Brad Phillips, is on hand to greet us. He is an odd abrupt character that proves difficult to understand. After some awkward introductory phrases he begins to relate to us the tale of the Delamere party. An antiquities salesman, played by Michael J Lawless, appears explaining to us his theory that any object that has been associated with a human emotion or event is capable of communicating itself to a sensitive mind. He requests our help in proving this by conducting an experiment in which we are blindfolded and asked to keep an open mind to the object’s tale.
Here the storyline is blurred as the tale unfolds within the tale. It is not entirely clear why we are told a tale in a tale in a tale instead of being at the original dinner party. The Delamere party happened two years prior but the real story takes us back to 1965. Sitting around in the dark with a blindfold on certainly does make for some fantastic heightening of the senses however and the sound effects of crashing thunder and a ticking clock lay the stage for the action to come. In the background we begin to hear the voice of Brooklyn ex-pat, Ella Kruger, played by the outstanding Audrey Cadzow. In the darkness using different areas of the room and skillful audience interaction, Cadzow cleverly weaves Ella’s tale of frustration with her husband, escalating madness and murderous intent. Cadzow’s performance was mesmerizing and I found myself on the edge of my seat following the cleverly executed plot twists and jumping with each sound effect. The whole concept was novel and brilliantly done. Aside from some confusion about the tale within a tale within a tale the haunting story had me completely entranced. This is a play for those looking to experience a show in a completely different way and well worth a visit to experience the immersive nature of a non-visual performance.