Interactive murder mystery now on at the Campbell House Museum in Toronto
The 6th Degree, currently being presented by The Lighthouse Troupe at the Campbell House Museum, is not your traditional evening of theatre. There’s no stage, there’s no curtain, and there is no real audience. It’s an interactive murder mystery where the audience members are the detectives. My companion and I had never participated in anything like it before and, all in all, we had a lot of fun.
When you arrive at the Campbell House Museum, you are asked to wait in one of the rooms until all the participants gather. You are put in groups of two, given a notebook and a schedule for the evening. (If you are alone, you are either paired with another single or can choose to work by yourself). Then police chief (Sofia Demidova) enters and sets the scene.
A young mother has been found brutally murdered in what appears to be a religious ceremony. Six potential suspects have been rounded up and are being held, each in their own guarded room. We, the audience members, have been brought in to help with the investigation. The rest of the evening is spent interviewing the suspects, examining the physical evidence, and trying to piece together what has happened.
At first, I was a little uncertain on how to proceed. What was I supposed to say to these suspects? How was I supposed to figure this out? But my companion and I managed to get a story from each of the characters we spoke with. And it got easier as the night went on. All of the actors had to think on their feet and respond to our questions. Some of them clearly had information they wanted us to know, leading the conversation in a specific direction. Others seemed to hold back more. But we were never sure if they were lying, or if they told us the same thing they told the other participants. In fact, each of the groups has a very different experience and possibly hears a completely different story.
I thought Danny Morrison gave a particularly convincing performance as John Fast, the leader of The Religion, a local cult of which the victim had been an adherent. He was calm, cold, and just a little too slick. I didn’t believe a word he said. Jarrod Hodgins also gave a strong performance as Jack, the victim’s husband. He was distraught, twitchy, and on edge. And Stephen Purdy was the creepiest suspect as Kent Reid, a former cult member who has confessed to the crime but seems to be looking for attention.
The two and half hours passed quickly,and we definitely weren’t bored. We enjoyed playing good cop/bad cop and trying get the suspects to reveal incriminating information. It felt like a live game of Clue.
Though we had fun, in the end, I thought the evening was somewhat unsatisfying. The Campbell House Museum was an interesting choice for staging this show. It’s an historic building, and I enjoyed the antique furniture and fixtures. But I’m not sure it really added anything to the mood or story. Also, the wrap-up seemed a little rushed. No one was really sure when the “performance” was actually over, and it was time to go home.
But if you like mysteries or police procedurals, The 6th Degree is a fun way to be part of the action.
- The 6th Degree is being performed at the Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West) until June 2, 2018.
- Performances are at 6pm with additional shows at 9pm on some evenings. Check website for details.
- Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased here
- The show is 2.5 hours and involves standing for long periods of time and walking up and down several flights of stairs.
- The content involves violent crimes of a sexual and religious nature.
Photo of Larissa Watson provided by the company