The Curiousity Experiment
Anywhere Festival & Nathan Schulz
Ecclectica, West End
5-21 May 2015
Reviewed by Jackson Kellaway
Another show during Anywhere Festival means another interesting venue to visit.
The Curiosity Experiment was staged at the Ecclectica: Esoteric Books and Curiosities in West End. I was excited for this production, as it was in a place that I found very intriguing. After I survived the drive into West End and found a car park in a dark backstreet a couple of blocks from the store, I made my way and was greeted by one of the voice actors who gave me a little insight to the show. Unfortunately “The Butler” was unable to make this performance and therefore Nathan Schulz, the writer and director of the show, was filling in.
I then got to explore the store before the show began and it was exactly what I had hoped for. Lining the walls were animal skulls, shelves with books on tarot, reflexology, auras and taxidermy. The incense was burning and the mood was set. In the centre of the room was a long table with chairs and different accessories to wear, to fit in with the era.
Schulz started the show and told us about a story his father used to tell him. A ghost story. If you are a fan of anything supernatural then I would definitely recommend going along and seeing The Curiosity Experiment. Schulz confessed to me this was his first self-written show and I believe he has done a good job. At times I was a little confused because I had to remember that it had three layers: the actor we were introduced to (Schulz), introduced us to two new characters in his story, who then took us into another story in which the spirit of Ella came into the room. I saw the performance when Ella was played by Audrey Cadzow and my, what a performance she gave. It was terrifyingly accurate how crazy she sounded within the piece. At times I thought Schulz may have found her in an institution, or on the street corner rocking back and forth muttering to herself.
The radio show effects that were used throughout the show enhanced the atmosphere and the first crack of thunder, I am not ashamed to admit it, made me jump. The mood was further intensified by the fact the audience was asked to wear blindfolds during the telling of the story. This made it more intense when Cadzow popped her head between members of the audience during her story. Unfortunately there was some interference during the performance, one being from the Latin dance classes going on upstairs, however; the actors played with it by mentioning the poltergeists in the room. The other mood-shattering interference was when the phone began to ring at quarter to nine at night. Like, who is calling a bookstore at that time?
Although I’m sure the show will undergo some changes in the future, Schulz can be proud of what he has created.
The Curiousity Experiment had me wondering what was going to happen next and left me wanting more, and when I got home I spent way too long researching all the true ghost stories of Brisbane’s West End.