If you like your theatre interactive, I have the show for you. But whoops tonight was the closing night.
Even so I am betting that Legends of Horror will come back to Casa Loma next year. I sure hope so. This was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
Imagine your standard haunted house, like the sort they used to have at the CNE. Remember? Some of it was cheesy and even silly, and occasionally they might scare you or startle you. So that’s what we remember from childhood.
NOW: picture a grown up version, not really appropriate for small children, because some of the images are truly grotesque and scary. You take Casa Loma –an actual castle in downtown Toronto—and employ its grounds and its tunnels to create a genuine ambience of terror. Sometimes it’s because you’re in an enclosed space, with spooky music. Sometimes it’s because an actual actor surprises you in the dark.
Because it was Halloween we dressed up. I was in a blue wig, my daughter in a pink one (as you see in the picture above). The place was totally jammed full of people, which also made it less likely we would be scared, especially when one sees so many others get startled, jump or scream at the top of their lungs, and many others were also in costumes.
Legends of Horror is a totally amazing experience anytime, let alone on Halloween Night.
It was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to dress, on this the coldest night of the entire run (remembering that it’s been unseasonably warm since the show started in late September). The wig turned out to be a great way to stay warm, allowing me to get rid of my sweater (that I needed earlier in the day, walking on the Board Walk). I also enjoyed the possibility that by being a bit chilly, I might have shivers that would be a natural segue into shaking in terror.
But really, the crowd defuses much of that. If we had come earlier in the run, on a quiet night, we might have been genuinely jarred by what we saw and heard, including some wonderful performances by live actors. I was especially impressed by the big Frankenstein’s Monster figure near the end, towering over us, as I shouted “it’s alive”.
They told us before we went in that
- We were not to touch any objects
- We were not to touch any of the actors
- They were not to touch us
And that made me feel quite safe.
A few times, the performers loomed out of the dark, while I smiled and stood my ground. I am one of those weirdos who –when someone says “can I get a volunteer” during a show—screams “me me me!” It led to some wonderful moments including one almost nose to nose, but it was magical. And I have to say that’s hard work, keeping a straight face, staying in character especially when a doofus in a blue wig (moi that is) smiles back and says “howdy howdy” or “hey there handsome.”
And they told us that halfway through the tour that we’d find a bar and washrooms. It’s delightful, stopping to look at the pictures we’ve taken while we have a drink and gather ourselves for more. It was interesting sharing this with social media, getting comments from friends & family far & near, particularly on a night when some were experiencing genuine terror in NYC. How fortunate that ours was entirely innocent.
I hope they revive it next year. I will be back, bringing other friends along.
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