It was a dark and stormy night - and a full moon rising - when we ventured out to The Storefront Theatre for a "bonechilling piece of immersive theatre." That press release description of The Bone House is utterly correct.
It is difficult to describe the eventful evening for fear of giving away spoilers - or that may just be the lingering fear in my bones numbing my typing fingers. The set-up is simple: the audience is attending a lecture by the esteemed Eugene Crowley - a swarmily seductive Kurt Spenrath who works the audience and walks a tightrope of dialogue without a single misstep - who is a self-taught criminal profiler specializing in serial killers. He wants to warn us of the dangers all around us, to "save our lives." And then he proceeds to plunge us into the evil and scary heart of evil. It is delicious fun.
Playwright Marty Chan fills The Bone House with twists and turns and every time one figures one knows where the action is going, and sighs with a brief moment of welcome relief, it veers off in a different direction and the tension ratchets further. If you like thrill rides, suspense or nail-biting thrillers you are in for a treat. Others of a more delicate disposition might prefer to take advantage of the three escape moments offered during the production but it would be a shame to miss the denouement which is genuinely creepy and a slap-in-the-face (which is almost calming when one is on edge expecting a much worse fate) indictment of our own lust for blood. The Bone House is rife with subtext about voyeurism, the pathology of theatre makers and goers, control issues and a tasty soupcon of homoeroticism in Crowley's dom/sub relationship with his assistant Jacob (the hunky and terrifying Jeff Hanson who gets to provide the first big jump-out-of-your-seat moment as well as some genuine pathos), but it is first and foremost a thriller. And it does thrill. Just be sure to take all the pre-show warnings about content seriously, you must be brave enough to get on the ride.
The Bone House continues until Sat, June 1 at The Storefront Theatre,
955 Bloor St W. redonetheatre.com