It’s not often you get to reach out to the other side, but thanks to Madam Ruby, that is just what we were able to do one dreary Saturday morning. Set amongst the screams and laughter of the people below us trying to beat the clock, we were able to help a poor, lost soul.
Known for their fantastic escape rooms, the folks at Cross Roads Escape Games in Anaheim have branched out into the world of immersive theater with THE SÉANCE, a wonderful addition to the SoCal Halloween scene. Written and directed by Madison Rhoades, THE SÉANCE is a strong debut for the team, featuring not only a fantastic story but also some spooktacular special effects.
The premise is simple; Ruby has called upon us to assist her in contacting the spirit world. She seats us around her table (which has ancient runes carved into it, each corresponding to our personalities) as she begins her rituals.
What follows is a story filled with more twists and turns than I expected, each reveal more exciting than the last. The séance goes off the rails, of course, and it is incredible what Cross Roads can pull off in such a small space. There are moments of levity, moments of tension, and even some really good scary moments. What starts off as kind of hokey (and rightfully so) turns into something we did not expect! Revealing more about the story would spoil the fun, but suffice it to say that we walked out of there an hour later with huge smiles upon our faces.
THE SÉANCE has a rotating cast, but we had the pleasure of seeing Geovanna Flores as Ruby. She committed to the role 110%, playing it with gusto. Everything you think a mystical psychic would be, Flores is. Since her character has to essentially carry the show for the hour, it was wonderful to see a performer able to command the room in such a way. Her journey was believable because Flores is such a strong performer. She was such a blast to interact with, and I’d love to see more of this character in the future (and of Flores as a performer in general).
Beyond that, there is also some wonderful puppetry work in the show. As someone who appreciates the art, it was a pleasant surprise to see some Henson-level artistry in the show. Maybe it’s because I have been watching the new THE DARK CRYSTAL on Netflix, but I was blown away by how incredible the puppets looked and interacted with not just Ruby but also the audience. Kudos to Stepy Kamei, who was the performer in our showing, for a job well done.
Considering their escape rooms have great special effects, it’s no surprise that this show did as well. Designed by Christian Mutter, the show was chock-full of surprises. The room itself already was filled to the brim with knick-knacks, making it truly feel lived in, but the added bonus of things happening all around us just added to it more. Mutter’s effects ranged from the simple to fairly complex, each one leaving our jaws on the floor. Special shout out to Ian Momii for his lighting design as well, as they all went hand in hand to create the atmosphere.
All in all, Cross Roads Escape Games has already made a name for themselves in the world of escape rooms, but it’s clear they also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to immersive theater. THE SÉANCE is the perfect show for the Halloween season, with plenty of scary moments and spooky fun. This is definitely a must-see show, do not miss it!
The show runs Wednesday through Sundays, 10/2 through 11/3. Tickets are $45-$60 per person, depending on the day of the week. For more information and to buy tickets, visit them online at: www.CrossRoadsEscapeGames.com/the-seance