The Great Hall hosted Toronto’s first ever immersive dance production Eve of St. George, based on Bram Stoker’s popular vampire tale Dracula. Inspired by New York City’s popular Sleep No More, Transcendance Project, a local contemporary dance company, created an atmospheric and haunting piece.
Participants entered the lovely, restored Great Hall were given a mask which was to be worn throughout the performance and an envelope. After a glass of bubbly, we were asked to open the invitation we received at the door.
Guests were encouraged to explore each of the four sections of the set, each in different parts of the venue. The space becomes a character in the piece and it’s done quite well. The basement was especially creepy with white-clothed children running about telling secrets and shrieking with glee.
Award-winning choreographer Julia Cratchley led a cast of sixteen talented dancers who moved dramatically to the haunting score by composer Owen Belton. Eve is equal parts sexy, disturbing, haunting, and thrilling.
Depending on where you ended up, each guest could have a different experience of the show, with some dance pieces taking place in stairwells and hallways. You never knew what you would find when you rounded each corner.
The dancing throughout the evening was very sexy, Eve is atmospheric and visually very cool, but it was sometimes difficult to figure out the storyline and it felt like there should be more depth to the piece. The audience participation and interaction with the dancers was limited—the production would have been better served with a larger mix of dancers and actors to help round out the story.
Overall there was a lot to be enjoyed in Eve of St. George. This is quite a different theatrical experience and I hope more immersive theatre comes to our city.