Two weeks before Hallowe’en, you can hopefully forgive the Countess and myself for thinking an “interactive event” called “the Warehouse of Horrors” with tour guides leading you through the atmospheric old Brooklyn Lyceum, might actually be a spook show. Our only true shock of the evening was the degree to which it wasn’t. Playing on the building’s former history as a bathhouse, center of prostitution and illegal raves, Warehouse of Horrors: Gowanus 73 is instead a piece of environmental theatre about kidnapping, mobsters, junkies and whores. Presumably by the end, some of them kill each other — that is, if the audience doesn’t do the job for them as a result of accumulated boredom and frustration.
The evening begins with a “party” in which everyone stands around in the chilly, unheated vastness of the Lyceum drinking very icy, water-downed free cocktails. Our tour guide was occasionally talking to those closest to her, but we couldn’t hear a thing she said over the music. (By the way, if this theatre piece is supposed to take place in 1973, neither the music nor anybody’s clothes or manner of speech were historically accurate). We were on the verge of throwing in the towel and leaving when the play began to start at around 8:20. (Having gotten to the theatre at around 7:30, as people do, we had been waiting for something to happen for 50 minutes). The “show” turned out to be a dreary, awful play, featuring dialogue that was either improvised or simply poor. The scenes each take place in a different location in the Lyceum — none of which has any sort of set. It’s just the raw space. We allowed ourselves to be carted around with the rest of the herd through about three or four or these inflictions (each scene was sort of at the level of an episode of Adam-12 or The Mod Squad, but with anachronistic adulterations). After this, the horrible climax we were expecting may well have happened, but we’ll never know because by then we were long gone. We had to split, man. If you’re willing to submit to it, here’s where you can get tickets: http://uglyrhinonyc.com/event/warehouse-of-horrors-2012/