Renaissance Theater • Orlando, Florida
Created by Don Rupe
Starring Blake Auburn
by Carl F. Gauze
If you missed last year’s Halloween spectacular, here is your chance to experience it in double time. With Nosferatu, you get vampires and dancing girls, leather boys, and a pretty decent bar. The location is in that big anonymous warehouse cum theater next to the Big Hospital, complete with plenty of free parking. YEAH for free parking! The entrance is in the back tonight, there’s too much stage stuff up front to allow patrons to enter normally. Pre-show the bar is cooking (actually, it never closes), and we gather in the main stage area, boozing, schmoozing and hanging out in a cool kids manner.
The show begins with a huge dance number played out mostly on that long, dangerous staircase in the main room. About 20 dancers are in constant motion, much of which is unsuitable for small children or Republicans. Our MC (Auburn) leads the action, and at the first break we split up into small informal groups and visit a wide selection of small sideshows. I count at least a half dozen spaces: a church, a fortuneteller, a cage match, a circus tent, a wretched boys’ school, and some horrid medical experiments. I can’t say they were all entertaining, but they all did draw the audience into visceral scenes of horror and disgust. Your results may vary, I know mine did. We then return to the main room and watch anther exciting routine on the extended stairway to heaven (or hell, everything is very fluid tonight). These rooms are spread far and wide, and you will do some hiking around in the space. Heels are not recommended, but they will be adored.
This is a big step above any haunted house you may encounter this season. The show isn’t played for spooks jumping out of the shadows, it’s a much more about how we mistreat each other, and here, let me show you some details. The performance I saw was at near capacity. Arriving early may lead to getting a better seat, but walking shoes are a better choice than spikes, unless you are into some sort of ankle pain fetish. The quality of the production is up with Ren’s best, and be prepared for a long evening. Maybe even hire a designated driver. Your call on that one.