REVIEW: Fringe Festival’s CARNEVIL

Unravel the mystery

By Myron My

I don’t even know where to begin in reviewing CarnEvil, and that is impressive. Conceived by Timothy Christopher Ryan, in collaboration with Stephanie Wood, Alexandra Meerbach, Joseph Chapman, Sam Whelan and Nithya Nagarajan, it is part show, part immersion, part murder-mystery and a whole lot of fun.


Firstly, the transformation of the Collingwood Underground Car Park into a carnival ground is extreme and effective – it even has a maze (and a creepy maze at that). There are tents and stall set up including fortune tellers, medicine women, a peep show and a few carnival games like bobbing for apples. However, even when murder occurs (which it does), the fun and games continue with various performances taking place throughout the course of the night.

We are free to roam and do as we please, and interaction with the actors/performers is heavily encouraged. There are clues and hints to assist in finding the killer and the only way to learn of these is to immerse yourself into the carnival world. I felt like a nosy reporter trying to get as much information as I could.

The variety of dazzling acts range from burlesque, singing and clowning with my highlights on the evening I attended being Whelan’s pole dance routine and guest performer for the night, Sir Hoops A Lot and his mesmerizing hoops work.

The commitment that all the performers have to their characters allows the authenticity of this world to flourish, which is not the easiest thing to do when you don’t really have a script to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Meerbach, Whelan and Woods’ characters and how they interacted with the audience.

CarnEvil is a highly recommended two hours of fun and intrigue – just keep an eye on that pesky clown, you don’t know where he’s going to pop out from…

Venue: Collingwood Underground Car Park, 44 Harmsworth St, Collingwood

Season: Until 27 September | 7:30pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $18 Conc