Welcome to The Weltzie Society, where the best and most beautiful people come to undergo the process of perfection, to be made complete enough to enter into Paradise. What if you don’t live up to the society’s standards you ask? Well let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Gorlesque: The Twisted World of Dr. Weltschmerz/Paradise is the first chapter of your journey toward perfection, though how the society defines perfection, and whether their paradise is a place you want to be is a question that takes us into a sinister world of subjugation and transformation through pain. Gorlesque is the brainchild of co-founders Wes Oakley and Pete Metzger, and represents their first foray into this dark, sexy world, following years of experience in more family-friendly entertainment. It’s a solid first effort elevated by some great campy performances and a few inspired set pieces, but hampered by a somewhat aimless narrative and a loss of steam as the experience progresses.
The show starts off promisingly enough, in a white room laid out with posters explaining the philosophy of Dr. Weltschmerz which will be familiar to anyone who tried their mini-haunt at Midsummer Scream. A lovely young woman in a beautifully-adorned uniform prompts you to read up on the history of the society, though for purposes of time there is little chance to take everything in. Luckily she then makes you watch a video, and admonishes you if you don’t give it the attention it deserves. The video explains the basics of Dr. Weltzschmerz philosophy, essentially that the only goal of value is (primarily physical) perfection. She then lines your group up and berates you over any physical imperfections you might have, which becomes a theme throughout the maze. It was all in good fun, especially with the group of misfits I was there with, but those with fragile egos may wish to avoid bringing any Übermenschen, to avoid being unduly singled out.
A scientist in the next room is preparing a machine that will enable us on our path to perfection. However, as indicated by his panicked shouts and mutterings, the machine isn’t working exactly as planned. We enter the room and our hostess begins to assist the befuddled techie as he urgently attempts to fix a massive machine. Following this is a slapstick routine where the woman starts to flip out on a stereotypically-eggheaded scientist, as he fumbles around to try to make something work.This was the highlight of the night for me, as the room had a classic, nonsensical science vibe with lots of posters of figures and gadgets, and the two actors had fantastic chemistry and timing. There is no more time, and we are told to enter the machine that will perfect us.
What follows is a path through a sort of ego hell, interacting with characters subservient to, and tortured by this pursuit for perfection. You meet the victims, trapped along their path to paradise and the pee-ons of the society, forced to try and prepare your group of pathetic, unworthy creatures for judgment by Dr. Weltschmerz’s protege. Not to give too much away, but it doesn’t go well.
There are some truly entertaining moments in Gorlesque, as I’ve mentioned above, and the actors do a great job of engaging your group to make the experience more personal. However, the narrative is somewhat thin and doesn’t give them much to work with, and the overly well-lit rooms betray the shipping container walls and cheap set design as the experience continues. Also, while this was clearly not the approach they were going for, there are almost no actual scares throughout, which could help to make up for some of their other failings. Gorlesque is not a bad haunt, in fact by some standards it’s quite good, but with the breadth of wonderful haunts of all varieties available here in SoCal it feels simply adequate, and that is difficult to recommend. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next year, as most of the hurdles that remain are technical. If they can just beef up the production values a bit and flesh out the narrative they could really be on to something, but as it stands Gorlesque is really only going to be worth it for LA locals that have already exhausted some of the more substantial fare the city has to offer.
You can grab your tickets to perfection here and even sign up for their mailing list.