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Generally Recognized As True: The Paranormal Show review : Campbell House : Toronto, Ontario : November 29, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Paranormal Show review : Campbell House : Toronto, Ontario : November 29, 2008

Last night, I went to "The Paranormal Show" at Campbell House. What a very interesting show!

First of all, the setting was great. Campbell House is a small Victorian mansion within the city -- the oldest original building still standing. Upon travelling the cobblestone walkway to get to the wooden front door, I went inside to find a candlelit foyer where the attendees were gathered at the foot of the spiral staircase waiting to go upstairs for the show. A man in Victorian outfit was just inside the door selling tickets and handling reservations by candlelight.

After the clock chimed 9pm, the group of 40 people made their way up the dark spiral staircase to the small ballroom where the guests were to be seated. Soon after, Vladimir Eisengrimm entered the room and began the show. The show began with a series of mind-reading and psychokinesis activities with a lot of audience participation. I think maybe 10 people altogether had been pulled from the audience at various times to participate. Thankfully, I was not one of them (although I don't really say that for any reason in particular -- it was all good fun -- I just don't like being called on without preparation :)). These activities were impressive and I wonder how many of them were done!

Vladimir Eisengrimm was essentially the same character that I had seen as Nikolai Diablo at the Carnival Diablo sideshow at Carnival Lune Bleue back in August. It's a great character and the makeup and voice are great. This show had the addition of maltuned cello ambient music in the background which added to the disarray. The smell of incense in the room also contributed (and I can still smell it, actually!). The atmosphere of the old house and its acoustics also added a lot. The chimes of the grandfather clock in the background marked the passing of every hour, too, which was a nice artifact.

After the mind tricks, Vladimir moved on to some of the same tricks I'd seen at Carnival Diablo, but they were no less interesting the second time around. The performance is what's interesting and he's interesting to watch!

Next, and after a warning and 10-minute reprieve to decide if you want to stay for the next part, the group walks back down the dark spiral staircase and continues down to the cellar of the house for a séance to try and communicate with the female ghost of the Campbell House. The audience participation aspect is really well done: how many other shows do you participate to this extent?

In the cellar, and around an old wooden table, the people that could fit around the table did so and Vladimir introduced the concept of séance and to his instruments -- essentially, to try and capture the energy of the spirit and focus it into a number of objects through which the spirit can communicate. The people around the table were asked to join hands and everyone in the room focused their energy on the task at hand. I won't go into too much detail because I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

After the séance, it was back upstairs for Vladimir's reading of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". I enjoyed it -- very well done!

Overall, it was a great show, and about 2 hours long. A lot of time and effort was obviously taken to bring the best out of the atmosphere possible at Campbell House and the small audience makes it feel rather special -- a limit of 40 people was probably just about right, and anything much larger would have made you feel lost in the audience. As it stood, you felt like a central part. If you're interested in a creepy atmosphere or just an over-the-top sideshow type of performance, it's definitely something to see!

Last night was supposed to be the final show, but the run at Campbell House has apparently been extended through to December 20th. Here's the flyer, although it doesn't show the new dates yet; but, there's a Facebook page for the extended run. Highly recommended!

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