Ticket Price: £10 Address: Mexborough Business Centre, College Rd, Mexborough S64 9JP
Ticket Price: £10
Address: Mexborough Business Centre, College Rd, Mexborough S64 9JP
Faceless Ventures have been on our radar for a long time, notably for their association with the notorious Cracked. They’ve been involved in a whole bunch of other things – none of which we’ve ever been able to attend! We very nearly made Fraternity but we’re cursed with living in London and not possessing a car! That said, we had (obviously!) planned an extensive tour for October and our dates luckily put us right in this event’s path! So naturally, we had to attend!
For me personally, this was my most anticipated of the season for one simple reason; it was very clearly setting itself out as being something different from the multitude of Halloween offerings elsewhere in the country.
The immersive theatre spin is something that definitely appeals to us. As we may have mentioned before, immersion is what we most enjoy from attending these kinds of attractions. And whilst haunts mostly provide that on a theming level, the actors are more concerned with trying to startle. And we have absolutely nothing against that – it’s just a different style of entertainment. But typical scare attractions are a lot more common so when immersive events, with a focus on narrative pop up, our ears prick!
At this point, we should probably start talking about the event! That said, we don’t want to say too much – there’s the possibility of it touring and you should hold out hope for that! What we will say is that the show begins with a dead body clutching a diary and then rewinds from there, taking you to this person’s childhood. We’re introduced to his plight and eventual cause of death as forecast in the opening scene. And that’s all we’re going to say about that!
Though I personally had expectations about what Diary was going to be, the show itself subverted them. It took a far more emotional and considered direction than we’d expected from an event that has a foot replete with toe-tag as it’s principal marketing image!
The opening scene where you delve into this character’s childhood was a touch of inspiration, especially when the show asks you to interact with the kid in a meaningful way. This was a kid who just wanted to play and have fun; sadly, circumstances dictated that this wasn’t to be. We’ve said many, many times in reviews that it’s the small details that matter, for good or bad. We wish more shows would be attentive to the little moments like these. The script can be fantastic as can the theming and staging but if you don’t involve the audience in the proceedings, it can only go so far. This is exactly where we felt the Goosebumps show failed last year. I absolutely loved the scene set during John’s childhood for connecting the audience to the character in a way that meant something. And, when you break it down, it was stupidly simple. But it demonstrates that thought had gone into the proceedings.
We then followed ‘John’ into adulthood and witnessed how increasingly dire his situation had become. The show built to a theatrical finish, including the inspired use of a well-known song that we won’t mention! And that’s about all we’ll divulge as far as the storyline goes!
As much as we enjoyed Diary, there were two things that we think would’ve improved the experience. One particular scene where we were face to face with John’s demons went on too long without anything really happening – we understood the concept of this scene after a minute or so but then it kept on going. However, we understand that there was a good reason why this was the case and expect it’d be modified if it ever returns.
The other thing we’d say is that the show sometimes resorted to haunt-style spooks and, to be honest, it was strong enough that it didn’t need those elements. We definitely felt that in one or two moments, they detracted from the story. That said, they were fun, just mostly unnecessary.
The use of ‘that’ song
Interacting with the character’s younger self
Demon characters were a mostly unneeded addition.
Having heard about the organisers’ extreme events before this, I wasn’t too sure about what I’d be walking into. However we arrived at the venue to a church-like room to be confronted by a girl asking if we’d seen her friend. One of our team didn’t know the history that this was an advert for previous events so may have been distracted from the experience looking for this girl. As a theatre goer I do love an immersive experience like this so I was open to the change.
We walked down to the meeting point and were addressed by a nurse who told us about the deceased and the diary that he possessed. We were then taken on a journey of what brought him to the morgue.
The story started in his youth where we met a child – I thought this was a brave decision to choose a young actor to play a tormented character. He did a great job, so much so that I was happy taking part in his story. (I don’t want to spoil the concept so won’t say too much more). After this scene we visited the character again, maybe ten years later. I found this scene to be a bit pointless and, to be frank, irritating as there’s only so many times you can cope with someone staring you in the face before it loses any power. We soon left that room and embarked upon John’s final journey, witnessing a distressing image that genuinely affected me. I don’t know who the female actress was but as someone connected in the music industry I want to sign her up! Her performance of a very powerful song was so touching! Once the singing had ended we met all of John’s demons and I even danced to Ring a Ring o’ Roses with one of the characters.
It was nice to meet with the organiser afterwards and discuss some of the subjects and themes in the show. I really hope the owner will travel with this to London, as I’d love for this new experience in the genre to be visited by more people so you can appreciate the way genre is evolving.
Diary of a Deceased - Faceless Ventures & Heretic
Diary was a great little piece of immersive theatre and we're super looking forward to what comes next from these guys!
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