Last year, Creep Los Angeles really impressed us with their show ENTRY. It was smart, polished, and creepy as hell. Hands down, it was my favorite experience last spooky season. As the months wore on after that, I began anxiously anticipating whatever they were going to do next. That, of course, turned out to be THE WILLOWS, an intimate show that turned dinner theater on its head, and perfectly fit into their aesthetic.
This year, when it was announced that they would take on adapting LORE, one of my favorite podcasts (and soon to be an Amazon Prime Exclusive Series), I was excited. But then, as we got closer to Halloween, I began to get nervous. All of their previous shows were so, so good…how in the hell would they even be able to top themselves? Was it even possible? Would LORE be a worthy addition to the Creep canon?
The answer, of course, is absolutely, yes, it is. Before getting into the nitty gritty, let me say this; LORE takes last year’s show and kicks its ass out into the cold. While ENTRY was indeed wonderful, LORE takes everything I loved about their previous shows, mixes it with stories from the podcast & show, and turns it up to eleven.
While last year followed a singular narrative thread, LORE wisely explores a handful of popular stories that will be featured in the upcoming show, and brings them to life before your eyes. While there are tentative threads that seemingly connect one to the next, each of these vignettes make up the larger tableau of the theme; that folklore that is handed down from generation to generation is more rooted in truth than you might think.
The show opens with a sense of foreboding right from the start…you are lead to a darkened room where a table, chair, and lamp await. Eventually, a woman (the always wonderful Jannica Olin) joins you, but instead of bringing you elsewhere…she sits and reads. She barely acknowledges your presence, and instead focuses on her books, the walls around you, and then eventually…you.
This slower pace to open the show, and her going about her business without a worry to us, immediately made me feel the dread building inside. This helped set the tone of being at the Creep’s mercy that followed throughout the rest of the show. She was going to take us where we needed to go when she was good and ready, and not a moment before. When she relents & brought us elsewhere, where a wonderful set piece helps explain what is to come next, that dread only intensifies.
But that sensation is something that Creep Los Angeles excels at; they are able to make you feel something deep in the pit of your stomach, twist it into knots, and make you feel anxious about what will happen next.
From there, you step into the stories of LORE, filled with changelings, vampires, possessed dolls, and more, as they wonderfully bring these tales to life. Throughout the course of the evening, I went from awed to to surprised to scared to creeped out many times, and loved every minute of it. The vignette scenes are perfect for Creep’s vibe, and each played out beautifully. Sometimes, you’ll be with your entire group of eight people. Sometimes, you’ll be broken off into smaller groups. Sometimes, if you’re lucky…you’ll be left alone.
The sets that were employed in this show were incredible. Ranging from the wilds of the woods to cozy cottages to hospital wards, I was incredibly impressed by every single area we were taken to. Everything looked and felt authentic, and never once did I feel like we were on a set. We WERE in the woods. We WERE in a cemetery. There were quite a few moments that I stopped and thought to myself “How the hell did they even do this?!” Seriously, their ability to transport you to other places was impressive, and I loved how alive this world seemed…not just through their set pieces, but also their actors.
And speaking of actors, goddamn, do they have magnificent casting. Of course, you will see some familiar faces from the Creep family, but you will also discover many new ones as well. Each one is absolutely incredible, and they truly do sell every moment of the show. When putting on a large-scale show such as this, there are sometimes weak links in the chain…it’s almost inevitable. However, that’s not the case here. Creep somehow manages to get the best of the best, and each one excels at their role, no matter how big or small. Whether it was a single person commanding the attention of the entire group or a one-on-one sequence, the actors are solid across the board. Special shout outs the Melinda DeKay for her incredible story-telling skills during one sequence, Elli Rahn for making me feel uncomfortable (in a good way) during a seemingly innocuous task, and Mason Conrad for his emotional (and yet still creepy) performance.
I was also lucky enough to be pulled into a one-on-one. While I won’t spoil the hows and whys, I will say that the pre-show warning that you may be “isolated alone in a confined space” came true for me, and it was incredible. What followed was an intense few minutes of a young bride, played by Kylee Thurman, telling me the story of what happened to her. Thurman pulled me into the moment completely, and made me feel such sorrow for her that I don’t think I’ve ever felt in a show before. It was beautiful.
After the show was “over,” it still continued in the after-show lounge. Much like last year, this lounge offers libations, a chance to discuss what happened, and their world-famous photo booth (which, seriously, there is never a bad photo at!). Of course, there are a handful of creeps that inhabit the lounge, so expect a little more weirdness before you leave. If you are attending a later show, chances are you might catch some of the creeps you saw within the show again in the lounge. It’s a great way to unwind a bit before heading back into the real world.
There is so much more I want to say about LORE, but I can’t. I want to to tell you everything I saw, I want to discuss the meaning of things, I want to know about what happened when other people were pulled away…but I can’t do any of that until you see it! Much like THE WILLOWS, there are definitely aspects of this show that will be completely different upon a second (or third) viewing, and I intend to do just that. I’m already planning my next trip to the world of LORE, and that alone should tell you how good it was.
Even if you are unfamiliar with the podcast or have no interest in the upcoming Amazon Series, LORE most definitely will satisfy your immersive cravings this Halloween season. While I may be a fan of the show, I was with plenty of people who have never listened before, and even they walked out loving every minute of it.
Overall, Creep Los Angeles: LORE is like a master class of immersive theater; the storytelling is solid, the acting is incredible, and everything is off the charts. What Creep has done this year is incredibly impressive, and really showcases the best of LA’s immersive scene.
To purchase tickets, please visit: www.creepla.com
Use the code CREEPER for 10% off your tickets from now until October 10th.