Whether you’re a Batman superfan, in need of something spooky to do before October is over, or just want to explore a creepy castle, Arkenham Abbey, currently playing at Craigdarroch Castle is a great night out for those wanting to experience their last few moments of Halloween fun.
Arkenham Abbey is a mix of Batman lore meets Downton Abbey, taking place in the Post-Edwardian era, before World War I. The gorgeous Craigdarroch Castle becomes Arkenham, a sanitarium for the criminally insane. Staying within the confines of the castle are various villains that the famous vigilante known as “The Nightwatchman” has arrested over the years. While visitors (aka the audience) are visiting the asylum for a play that the inmates are putting on, a breakout is orchestrated by the clownish Fool, along with his other villainous cohorts. The audience is toured around the castle as we watch the Nightwatchman battle for his sanity as well as putting the villains back behind bars.
This is not your regular night at the theatre. The audience is lead around Craigdarroch to several different rooms where we see The Nightwatchman confront the many alternatively named villains such as Blackjack, Man of Straw, The Puzzler and…… Pantaloony? Yes, while these characters have different names to the comic book characters we know so well, their lines of dialogue and references still go back to the classic one-liners from the Batman universe. Fans of the movies, television shows and stories will love hearing the audible easter eggs hidden within the script, and also seeing the differences that writer David Radford has added to the characters backstories.
Besides the beautiful architecture of the castle, the acting in this unique production is the show’s highlight. Bradford excels in being the writer, director and also star as The Fool (or for Batman fans, The Joker), completely mastering the terrifying yet some what hilarious personality the iconic character possesses. Meanwhile Justin Carter had the dark knight’s gravelly voice and angsty past down perfectly, and Christina Patterson, Jared Gowen and Trevor Hinton perform excellently as the other rogues.
A warning to those wanting a relaxing night at the theatre: this show has you climbing up staircases and craning your neck to catch most details of the madness that occurs in Arkenham Abbey, so while it was immensely enjoyable and entertaining, by the end of it I was surprised at how tired it was. Just running slightly over an hour, it was the perfect amount of time needed. Arkenham Abbey will entertain all who need one last scare right before Halloween, as well as allowing yourself to take in the beauty that Craigdarroch Castle provides.
Arkenham Abbey is current playing at Craigdarroch Castle from October 19th to the 31st. For more information, click here.