Toronto’s Storefront Theatre becomes a sensory-immersive space in The Bone House
This is going to be a difficult review to write. And not because Red One Theatre Collective’s The Bone House is a difficult show to love. Quite the opposite – this is an exciting piece of indie theatre. But its success is so reliant on what you don’t know about it that I feel wary of telling you much at all.
I could say something like; try introducing yourself to the people hangin’ out pre-show. Or maybe, no need for a hot shower before going. Or I could suggest eating at O.NOIR for practice. Is this vague and alluring enough?
This is a play that leans heavily on your suspension of disbelief – and makes it easy to comply. The immersive environment created by the accessible acting and attention to real-life spatial elements effectively situates the audience in a blurry space between the here-and-now and the world of the play.
It’s a unique mental space to be in! I think the most accurate comparison is a Halloween haunted house. Your logic knows what’s happening isn’t real, but your senses are telling your brain otherwise.
These kinds of body-mind tricks make for a delightful sense of self-doubt and confusion. And The Bone House takes advantage of this. Tricks are layered upon tricks – you can’t trust what you think you know and you can’t trust what you think you see.
If this sounds like hard work, its not. It’s a really fun evening! I can’t tell you what your reactions will be, but I’m sure you’ll have some interesting ones.
On another note, with me that night was a guy who hadn’t seen a play since high school. And he liked this. And said he would tell his friends about it.
While undeniably ‘theatre’ I do think a piece like this is uniquely suited for a theatre-unfamiliar audience. It’s thoroughly untraditional and true to the general ‘inclusive’ mission of Toronto’s underground independent theatre scene.
Maybe this is the one to take your theatre-unenthusiastic friends to – post dinner at O.NOIR.