— Pamela Roth
Stepping inside the Craigdarroch Castle during the next few weeks will be like stepping into a scene from the Dark Knight.
In the spirit of Halloween, Launch Pad Productions is transforming Craigdarroh Castle into the eerie Arkenham Abbey, setting the stage for a comedy-horror show that places the audience front and centre.
According to David Radford, the show’s writer and director, the storyline combines classic Batman stories — including Arkham Asylum and the Killing Joke — with original writing and framework to tell an alternative reality of the Dark Knight story.
The show is set in the post-Edwardian era in a Suffolk country estate turned sanatorium. Patients have taken over and threaten to murder the staff and visitors unless the famous vigilante and dark detective, known as the night watchman, agrees to meet with them. When he does, they attempt to drive him to insanity.
What makes the show unique, said Radford, is that it’s site specific theatre, so the audience follows the show from room to room, placing them in front of all the action.
“Instead of an audience sitting quietly in the dark, people are on the move all the time and action keeps propelling the show forward,” said Radford. “The show becomes quite intimate. It almost has a film-like quality to it where the actors don’t have to project to the back room. You’re really inside scenes with these people.”
Although the show is comedic with its Batman character imitations, it does have its scary moments.
The night watchman is tortured and two other characters are killed. There’s also blackouts and screaming, which Radford said makes the experience all the more fun and entertaining.
“That’s what people come out for is to really experience the spookiness of it as well,” he said.
This year marks the 13th year for the Halloween show at the castle, but this is the first time Launch Pad Productions has taken over the reigns and decided to change the form.
The show also stars Justin Carter, Jared Gowen, Trevor Hinton and Christina Patterson. Costumes are done by Martha Burd.
Arkenham Abby takes place on various days between Oct. 15 to 31. Tickets are $28 for the general public and $25 for members of the castle society. The production is not recommended for children under 13.
For more information visit thecastle.ca