It’s that time of year again. When kids dream of knocking on strangers’ doors to collect candy. When a cavalcade of slutty mushrooms and ax-murderers with open head wounds roam the streets. When abandoned fields and houses become killing fields. It’s time to be afraid. Very afraid.
So, I was not surprised to find a house of horrors pop up at Raleigh, NC’s Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio, aptly called the House of the Fury: An Immersive, Interactive Theatrical Experience. Not much was available about the production on the web, so with a fluttering heart I signed the obligatory form waiving liability (lawyers! Oh wait, that’s me!) and waited my turn to be scared.
Participants are assigned a timeslot when they will be shepherded into the theater, eight at a time. We will enter the House of Fury shortly. We may not speak. However, we are told that first we must make a choice. We will all be wearing skeleton masks, and must choose what color ours will be. Those who are more timid should chose white, and those who want the full onslaught of terror should choose metallic. I chose metallic. Go big or go home.
What happens next was unlike any house of horror that I have ever experienced. We entered a world where a bloody cadaver is center stage. A black-and-white film shows us scenes from a life. A mother and son. New friends or lovers? Jealousy. Rage. Violence. This sets the stage for our descent into hell, mayhem, and murder.
We are shepherded from room to room as we peel back layer after layer of the story. Each stage is a mini-show in which we learn more about the rage that set the story in motion.
Unlike most creators of houses of horror, Sonorous Road took great pains with the sets for each room. Sometimes, we were left to explore the room; other times, we were packed together and immersed in the violence and drama. Each room gave us another glimpse of a character and the torment of their soul as their story was slowly revealed.
The costumes and characters were remarkably developed for a house of horrors. And it was an interesting choice to give us masks. Not only did we become part of the horror, but we also became anonymous observers.
Did we become inured to violence with the masks? Maybe. Do we care about the others in our group? Maybe not.
When we get to the end of the line, we have literally gone through hell, experienced the baring of the characters’ souls, and watched the resolution of the crime.
Less scary horror show, and more avant-garde theater, House of the Fury is a unique production. There are no dark rooms; no skeletons with chainsaws jump out at you. And, yet, House of the Fury is an up-close-and-personal foray into dark, edgy themes and characters. After coming out into the light, we learn that the impetus for the show was to explore the theme of alienation and fear, and to show those folks who will queue up for the thrill of a haunted house how special immersive theater can be.
I think that Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio does a fine job with House of the Fury. This show is a unique blend of arthouse drama and Halloween thrills that shows that Sonorous Road will not shy away from being different. And that’s just what the playwright intended.
SECOND OPINION: Oct. 27th Raleigh, NC Triangle Review review by Martha Keravuori and Chuck Galle: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2017/10/is-sonorous-roads-house-of-the-fury-scary-not-very/.
The Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio presents HOUSE OF THE FURY: An Immersive, Interactive Theatrical Experience at 7:55, 8:05, 8:15, 8:25, 8:35, 8:45, 8:55, 9:05, 9:15, 9:35, 9:45, 9:55, 10:05, 10:15, and 10:25 p.m. Oct. 28-31 in the The Royal Bakery Building at 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
BOX OFFICE (scroll down): https://www.sonorousroad.com/fury/.
INFORMATION: 919-803-3798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/237332572.
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Click here to read her reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.