An eerie chorus version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” plays as a man enters the stage and lights an old fashioned lantern. It’s a mysterious beginning to tonight’s performance of Burning Bluebeard. The performance is a mix of the characters discussing their experience of Chicago’s 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire and the play that was taking place when the fire broke out. In the play, Bluebeard kills his wives when they enter the forbidden room. A montage killing scene shows these gruesome murders with the wives wearing creepy translucent masks and long blond wigs. It’s excellently choreographed and leaves the audience aghast.
The tension builds up to the climactic point where the theatre catches fire. A performer flies above the audience wearing a harness and throws red confetti. Then, the stage goes dark and we hear the sounds of fire and theatre goers screaming for their life. It’s a truly terrifying sound that is very unsettling. Finally, the screaming ends and the performers return and perform the happy ending of the Bluebeard story.
It’s a roller-coaster of a performance filled with contemporary music transformed to match the time, tumbling, acrobatics, and dance. It’s a must see for theatre fans of all ages. Catch the show at the Den Theatre up till January 10th!