I am excited to write about this one! This is a one of a kind interactive display, musical, cabernet, comedy show, haunted house, and dance hall; all in one. A performance like no other that celebrates the arts and Halloween across 13 spooky nights: October 18th to 27th from 7-10pm (11pm on weekends).
This is “The Tours for the Recently Deceased”, brought to the you by “Beaumont Studios” in partnership with “Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret”. This is the studio’s largest “most outrageous theatrical initiative to date”. My coverage is based on my media night attendance, where we were able to take photos and videos to help share this experience. Something that I am more than happy to do. I have honestly been raving about the following since its launch night.
I have never been to “Beaumont Studios” before, so this was just as much an opportunity to explore this shared space (I didn’t know this was even a thing), as it was to see the actors within them. The building is set up like “WeWork”, but for artists. “An open and supportive environment to cater to a wide variety of emerging artists and creative professionals”. Several studios/rooms under one roof: hair salon, mechanical garage, musical studio, art gallery, and fashion house; to name a few.
All together, a great location for the 13 nights of guided Halloween Tours. Which includes 8 audience participation performances, and the spooky Tim Burton inspired characters they are hosted by. You were not only able to engage with the actors and take part in the scenes, but can explore the elaborately deviated setting they were in as well.
Your journey begins as you check-in at the front counter. There, you are greeted by your “afterlife” caseworker, June. With cheek and humour she explains that you are dead, but can still escape the afterlife yet. You receive “your handbook”, which are a series of riddles to solve. One by one you visit each character listed and from them and their performance, you extract a clue. A number that correlates to a letter in the alphabet. And together they spell out a word, a password to get you into purgatory, and past that: the land of the living (aka the exit).
You are able to explore the rooms at your leisure and pace, in whatever order you please; even doubling back the way you came, so should you need to. I liked the freedom of exploration, and the choose your own type adventure that puts you in the shoes of the protagonist. Although letting a group of people loose in a limited space can become chaotic quick.
There were points where we didn’t know where to go. We found ourselves bumping into others, joining scenes mid way, interrupting performances/actors, and missing out on key narratives. But worst of all, we had puzzles solved by those before us. And for a completion-ist like myself, and those who are heavily invested in the experience, this takes away from its entirety. Not to mention we were scolded several times by the in-character actors, telling us that we weren’t suppose to be here. For a couple I couldn’t tell if they were acting out acting out. And that shift the mood. With no instructions and no guides, who are we the guests to know where we are suppose to be and when? Therefore, what I am proposing is set groups that roam the space together. Being ushered by a “tour guide” from scene to scene. You pause, solve any mystery as a group (escape room style), and enjoy the fullness of the show. After all, tickets are already booked in 20 minute intervals to facilitate this.
The following recap is in the order in which we experienced it. I will not be divulging too much detail as to what we saw. I don’t want to give away any of the suspense and surprise. Just enough to entice you to visit yourself. And at $30 per ticket ($25 for members) you well get your money’s worth. All the following to see and be a part of, and strategically placed snacks to munch on, along the way.
Please excuse the quality of my photos. I avoided using flash as to not distract the performers even more. It was also hard to focus on the moving actors.
A witch and the Headless Horseman gave you the scare of your life.
In the hair salon, Edward Scissorhands give you one heck of a hair cut.
We walked in on the Mad Hatter having his tea party. Alice and the white rabbit joined us around the table with cookies and mini cupcakes to enjoy.
There was also chips and salsa in the kitchen.
Outback, a mirrored maze stood between you and the Red Queen. She invites you to a croquet match, but on her terms. She supplies the balls and the flamingos.
I enjoyed the comedic stylings of the Penguin, and marvelled at the beauty of Cat Woman and her flexibility.
The Corpse Bride was an amazing singer. She sang of loved lost and curses broken.
Meat Pie was on the menu in Sweeney Todd’s barber shop. A saucy baker gave us a memorable cooking lesson. She also let us in on the secret ingredient in her famous pies.
While Sweeney himself offered guests free shaves. All in a studio of an artist that makes knives, how fitting.
Also roaming around were a host of characters that could help and guide you on your journey in the afterlife. Like Jack Skellington and Sally from “A Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Along the way, each connecting hallway or corridor was just as elaborately decorated. Be it a mystical wonderland or a spooky scene. Plenty of photo ops and backdrops to take advantage of.
And if you make it through this choose your own adventure theatre experience, you meet the ghost with the most himself: Beetlejuice. Purgatory’s most entertaining and most mischievous DJ.
With a cash bar and an open dance floor, visitors are invited to get down and boogie with all that go bump in the night. Admission includes a complimentary drink ticket to get you started. Exchange it or cash for soda, water, beer, wine, or highballs.
In conclusion, for those who like the macabre and art that is off the beaten path, this is for you. Hands down my favourite Halloween experience for this season and year, and one that I highly recommend. A great first of its kind event, that already has me looking forward to next year’s assembly. Get your tickets now with the link below!!
316 W 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1J0