Performed at this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Curiosity Experiment is a ghost story revolving around a supernatural experience that occurred at the Delamere family home many years ago. The twist however, is that for the majority of the performance, the audience are instructed to wear blindfolds so as the story unravels, they can only rely on their hearing, allowing their imagination to create the haunting visuals for them.
Created and produced by Nathan Schulz and Audrey Cadzow, the show is capped to 13 audience members, which allows for a large enough audience wherein a certain level of intimacy can still be reached. And of course the bad luck that is associated with the number subconsciously helps build the intensity of the performance.
The set design in the room is highly atmospheric and as we take our seats around the circular table, it's easy to believe you have been transported back in time. The room is dimly lit as our host sets the scene for us and the antiquities and toys that sit around the room all hold an air of something sinister to them.
When the visual element of a show is removed, the rest of the senses must be enhanced for the audience to still feel the full effect of the performance. While I tried to focus on the tale at hand, I did find myself getting a bit lost in the details and with actors playing different characters - sometimes of the opposite gender - it sometimes got confusing as to who was saying what or doing what. The cast however, deliver some great voice work, with clear emotional responses as well as an enduring creepiness in their performances.
A deliberate move by the creators is for the blindfolds to not completely block out vision, so you are able to peek into the darkness and see the shadows creeping around the room. For the most part though, I did keep my eyes closed and when they were opened, there was always a startled reaction to "see" what was happening. Fortunately, I generally respond to things internally rather than externally, so my nerves would not have been evident.
Even though the impact of the ghostly tale of The Curiosity Experiment might not leave you sleeping with the lights on, it is still a unique and enjoyable immersive experience where it is up to your own imagination to decide how far you go into the darkest corners of your mind.
Click here to read my interview with producer, Nathan Schulz.
Venue: Wick Studios - Room 13, 23-25 Leslie St, Brunswick, 3056
Season: Until 20 September | Sun - Tues 7pm, 9pm, Sun additional 5pm show
Length: 80 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc/Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
*Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 18 September 2016.