Forget what you know about your favorite haunted play, Delusion. For 2018 they have decided to deliver something that they haven’t attempted before. Oh, yes, it’s still good, it’s still immersive, interactive, thrilling, suspenseful, it’s just not scary. That’s on purpose. Delusion: The Blue Blade is a new type of story that throws theatre-goers into the heart of the action of an adventure spanning time and space.
Okay, so what’s the gimmick? Why is Delusion still the gold standard by which all other immersive shows are judged?
Creator Jon Braver developed the concept for a totally immersive, wholly original show in 2011. Simply titled Delusion, this theatrical experience mixed all of the disciplines that Braver was familiar with; writing, directing, stuntwork, and plopped them into a mansion in the middle of Los Angeles. Staged during the Haunt Season, the subject matter obviously skewed horror. Word of this groundbreaking show that featured an original story, original score, high-flying stunts, and stellar performances got out and the demand was high for a return.
The next year Delusion was subtitled The Blood Rite and featured a story that built on the previous year. Of course, following that up Braver kept returning to the world of Delusion, but with new and very distinct storylines. Each year the goal was to involve the audience as characters in a story and take them on a journey they would never forget.
It is with 2018’s production, The Blue Blade, that Braver decided to take things in a different direction. Ditching horror altogether, Delusion: The Blue Blade aims for suspense and adventure with sci-fi tinges. You can watch the prologue to the play here. In short, the world has fallen into chaos with the loss of a special object called The Blue Blade. This knife has the ability to cut through the fabric of space and time. Stolen by professor Evelynn Lowell, the object has allowed this enterprising thief to amass wealth by giving black market tours to other times and places. The Safeguard Society, who once controlled the blade are disappearing one by one. This is where we, the audience come in. As hopeful initiates into the Safeguard Society, we are asked to track down Evelynn Lowell wherever or whenever she might be and retrieve the blade.
Is the show good? For the most part, this is yet another triumph for Braver and his team of creatives delivers a hair-raising adventure that is at once outlandish and totally believable. We begin in 2018 as we follow a random guy in a trenchcoat into an abandoned theater. From there we are asked to solve puzzles, decode messages, talk to people from other times and dive through whispy blue time portals in search of our time bandit. At nearly every turn the shadow people are trying to stop us from getting to Evelynn. Do we make it? Well, it’s really up to the audience. Will you play your part?
This has to be Braver’s most ambitious storyline to date with a wild variety of times, places and environments that must be convincingly portrayed enough for the audience to suspend their disbelief. I don’t want to give away just where we find ourselves along the way, but there are some genuinely jaw-dropping set pieces to be seen. At one point, I kid you not, I had to climb under a bed to hide from a bad guy, I had to carry a futuristic device to another time, and I had to swing across a stream on a rope to solve a puzzle. It was, no question, a hell of a lot of fun.
Does the show suffer for the lack of horror? Not necessarily, but the devoted fans of this immersive show up to this point might. Going in Delusion has always been about terrifying suspense, the supernatural, pushing the boundaries of surprise and fear. Here we get a great time, it’s just not, well, it’s not scary. Nor does it intend to be. Who knows? Maybe this will open Delusion up to bigger, year-round shows, FINALLY.
Before you get the idea to buy tickets, well, they are sold out for now. BUT! There is hope. For now, fans of Delusion can sign up for the newsletter and they can join a waiting list. That will be your first line of defense in procuring a ticket should they extend the show. Other than that, well, you could always go back in time…
UPDATE: The show has now been extended through JUNE 2019! You will now have plenty of chances to check out this show, without having to travel through time.