Event Review: Shapeshifter: The Carnival Underneath

Once in a while, a truly unique experience opens up to let our twisted imaginations breath. Shapeshifter: The Carnival Underneath is one such experience. Part carnival, part play and part rock show, this is a treat like no other in Los Angeles this Halloween. Put together in part by actor Graham Skipper (Almost Human, Beyond The Gates, The Mind’s Eye)  Shapeshifter: The Carnival Underneath will haunt you long after the show ends.

The show starts off with a bang as soon as you get there with an unnerving journey through an army of shop mannequins into a back room carnival. Aerialists  perform above you and occasionally offer you a squirt of something from a syringe.  There are photo ops and a bar serving the most delicious cocktails. It certainly is a party but something odd seems through the cracks of good wholesome fun. A clown walks around offering popcorn. He seems innocent enough, but I tell you, he made me nervous. He was slightly off-center. I declined the offer but was thoroughly creeped out. After a few drinks and games, the show begin proper. YMND! takes the stage and welcomes you to the carnival. Singer/ songwriter Chris Lee is a fun a gracious host and he wastes no time getting you in the mood for something exciting and unknown.

Photograph by Rowan Metzner

After a rousing opening number, we are introduced to Jordann Baker’s young sweeper. She seems to want to be an Aerialist but isn’t given the chance. She has one friend really, a raven who she cares for. Just as we get to know her, that creepy clown appears again and we learn why is was so unsettling. He is a cruel clown with dark and sickening intent towards our heroine. I won’t spoil the show but what follows is a dark journey for this young woman as she seeks to fulfill her dreams surrounded by a nightmare that won’t let her go.

Photograph by Rowan Metzner

This is a fantastic show that surrounds you and makes you a part of it. You are not simply a fan or spectator, but a part of their world, yet helpless to lend a hand. That is one of Shapeshifter’s best tricks and treats. The emotional level is so magnetic that you are drawn in but cannot affect the various outcomes of what you see before you. Therefore, you feel trapped along with Jordann, as the nightmare plays out.

Photograph by Rowan Metzner

If you are looking for something different this Halloween, why not try something that will haunt you deeper than the jumpscares of a maze. Why not take a journey underneath.

Shapeshifter is open next weekend for it;s final performances. Info can be found at /www.shapeshiftercircus.com/


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