Review: Haunted High Park & The Baldoon Witch Séance (City of Toronto/Eldritch Theatre)

Man in skull makeup plays a ukelele. Eldritch Theatre pairs old fashioned ghosts with historic walking tour in an eclectic Halloween pairing

If you’re interested in plenty of laughter and scares this Halloween season, check out Haunted High Park at Colborne Lodge. On from now until October 30, this ghostly evening provided a great experience that delighted my guest and I.

Haunted High Park is a two-part event; the first being a performance of The Baldoon Witch Séance by Toronto’s Eldritch Theatre Company. I’ve reviewed a performance by Eldritch before and went into this a big fan; little has changed. What caught me off-guard, though, was the fantastic the haunted walk we went on afterwards.

The Baldoon Witch Séance is really the “theatrical” element of Haunted High Park. I will say, it’s advertised as a “recreation of a Victorian séance,” but it’s a lot more ridiculous than that. Eric Woolfe acts as Doctor Pretorius Wuthergloom, wearing skull makeup and speaking with some very chuckle-worthy inflections.

When you enter Colborne Lodge, you’re greeted by the charming Paula Schultz as Doc Wuthergloom’s assistant, schmoozing with the audience. Woolfe sits in the back, glaring at the audience until the show begins. Woolfe as Doc Wuthergloom goes on a roll with joke after joke as he attempts to determine the ghastly secret behind the creepy porcelain doll “Bloody Baby Betty.” Something I really appreciated from both Prosser and Woolfe was their crowd work. The show is interactive with some audience participation, and Woolfe’s riffing with the audience was laugh-out-loud funny.

The Baldoon Witch Séance features more than a few card tricks, mind tricks, and many illusions. My guest Karen said that she was surprised by how silly it was at the outset, but quickly came around to it. The audience seemed to be enjoying themselves as well, and I will say that the way that Woolfe lights the finale with a flashlight does stray into the realm of creepy.

After Eldritch’s performance, the audience is led outside to go on a haunted walk through high park. We visited the historic gravesite of John Howard, civil engineer to Toronto in the 19th century, and his wife Jemima.

We also got to go inside the historic home of the Howards and learn about mourning in Victorian times (along with more ghost stories). At the end of the tour, we sat down for warm apple cider and biscuits. It was a great experience and made me want to return during the day, and also visit more historical sites in Toronto.

Haunted High Park, featuring Eldritch Theatre’s performance of The Baldoon Witch Séance, made for an incredibly fun evening and I would absolutely recommend checking it out over the coming weeks.

Details

  • Haunted High Park ft. The Baldoon Witch Séance is on at Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Dr) until October 30, 2019.
  • Shows are from Wed to Sun with performances at 7 & 9PM.
  • Tickets are $32.50 and can be purchased online.
  • Run time is approximately 1:45 to 2 hours.
  • Contains: audience participation; haunted walk is not accessible to persons with mobility issues.

Image of Eric Woolfe as Doc Wuthergloom, provided by Eldritch Theatre Co.

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