Curiosity killed the cat… satisfaction brought him back. The Curiosity Experiment is a must for the curious minded. If ghost stories or murder mysteries makes you curious, then experience something a little different by booking in to see The Curiosity Experiment. The story was written and produced by award winning director, Nathan Schulz. Although I can’t say the storyline flows or makes complete sense, the curiosity as to what lay ahead kept me in my seat. The story is set in 1965, but relays the events that happened two years previously (unnecessarily confusing). The story is centred around Ella Delamere, a young American bride who moves from New York to Australia shortly after her wedding. The excitement of living in the Delamere mansion is soon dampened by her overbearing mother in law who drives her to the point of insanity.
As a member of the audience you are invited to play a guest at the Delamere mansion and relive the night of the death of both Mrs Delameres. Was it a murder and suicide, or was there something more sinister involved? The Delamere’s butler sets the scene for the 13 guests, seated around a lamp lit dinner table, as he narrates the story and invites the antique dealer to the dinner party to reveal the dolls that carry the secret of the mystery. There are three ways to experience this spine tingling production. Firstly, you have the option of using a blindfold whilst listening to the manic ravings of an American bride. This option will heighten your senses, allowing your imagination to visualise the scene through the intonations of the actress playing the role of Ella. Be prepared to be spooked as the ghost of Ella brushes past you as you sit in the darkened room. If you opt not to use a blindfold, you will see the horrific face of Ella, disintegrated through death.
The other two ways to experience this production is to attend on separate nights to watch actresses Audrey Cadzow and Tahlia Jade, each perform the role of Ella with their own unique take on the character. The show is not suitable for persons under the age of 18 as it contains supernatural and suicide themes. Please be warned that besides the option to wear a blindfold, there are moments of sudden shock, smells and surprises that enhance the storyline.
I certainly enjoyed the experience due to its interactive nature. Not knowing what to expect made it all the more intriguing. The setting at the Ecclectica: Esoteric Books and Curiosities shop was perfect. Being surrounded by dead animals and all things supernatural set the right eerie mood. The transition between the narration by the butler and antique dealer and the re-enactment of the event by Ella had the opportunity to create a tense mood but didn’t quite hit the mark, leaving me confused as to what was going on. The storyline was not always clear and, in my opinion, weakened the flow of the production. I was present for Audrey Cadzow’s performance which I thought was brilliant. She kept me completely mesmerised and had me quite convinced she was insane. The variations in her voice were certainly heightened the tension if you had chosen to be blindfolded, as I had. Her American accent was excellent as was her command of the performance space. Audrey was definitely the highlight of the show.
Although there are some weak points in the production due to a confusing storyline, the strengths of the actresses playing Ella and the interactive nature of the production make it worthwhile. It’s a unique concept that could be brilliant with a little more structure to the storyline.
Note: This review was based on attendance at a rehearsal night.