Do you have a Ouija™ board collecting dust under your bed? Have you ever dabbled into reading tarot cards? How about scratch up your dad’s copy of Zeppelin IV trying to listen to “Stairway” backwards? If so, then Séance is the show you need to see! Hosted by illusionist Nicholas Wallace and directed by Luke Brown, this show takes a dark delve into the world of the occult, culminating in what is being called the first attempt at using a very real séance as part of a theatre show.
To start off, I should disclose that I have to honour an oath I made at the show saying that I will not be revealing any important details about the show. After all “what happens in the séance stays in the séance.” A séance is an old form of dabbling in the cult that originated (and peaked) in the Victorian era. Mediums would attempt to channel the spirits of the dead to try to communicate with the other side. While several cases of this practice have been revealed as hoaxes, there are still some things that have yet to be explained.
This is where host and illusionist Nicholas Wallace comes in. He takes the audience through the history and common practicing techniques of spiritualism, giving us a lesson in the obviously fake and eerily unexplained cases that have happened throughout history. Wallace does a great job at connecting with the audience by speaking with a lot of charisma and character to really get us hooked on what he’s saying. He is engaging, funny, and at some points really helps drive the creepy atmosphere that the show is trying to create. He even goes so far as to perform illusions on stage, wowing and freaking out the audience.
The show is incredibly immersive. While it still maintains a traditional theatre stage with props, lighting and staging, it goes very far to break the fourth wall and get the audience as involved as possible to help destroy any preconceived notions that we are seeing a staged performance. Even the props themselves have a horrifying reason for being in the show. This adds to the suspense and eeriness already in the atmosphere.
As audience members, we are faced with some things that we really can't explain. There’s not really much more I can say about this show without breaking the oath I (and other audience members) made to Wallace, other than simply reiterating that this is an incredibly immersive and heart-pumping piece. If you want to get freaked out, or maybe prep yourself up for Halloween then I can’t recommend this show enough. If you have a faint heart or scare easily (and don’t enjoy it) then I’m going to say stay away.
Séance is on stage at Theatre Passe Muraille until Oct. 11. If you have the guts, be sure to check out their extra late shows on the 3rd, 9th and 10th of October.