The fourth edition of the Lost Soul Stroll walking tour is currently running in downtown London. Formerly associated with Doors Open London, it’s now being presented under the aegis of the Fringe. Jeff Culbert directs Jason Rip’s script, and Z. Jane Hadley pulls quadruple duty as producer, stage manager, costumer and prop master.
After a brief introduction at St. Paul’s Cathedral, we were led off by Dr. Thomas Cream (Josh Cottrell), whose story was definitely the creepiest of the night. Cream’s tale was very effectively presented from the top of the fire escape behind the Fringe office; ironically, I got more of a sense of the Victorian setting from that scene, at a not particularly noteworthy (as far as I know) building, than at any of the other bona fide historical venues on the tour.
The second host for our group, Phoebe Campbell (Nicole St. John), had an equally interesting story to tell, and did so convincingly with her partner Tom Coyle (Tyson Bree). While Cream is haunted by his evil nature, Campbell might even be worse: she’s almost gleeful in describing her actions, and is completely unrepentant for those deeds.
All of the other performers and performances were quite good—Janice Johnston and Herb Bayley in particular, and I didn’t recognize Dan Ebbs at all—but I found their material had much less of an impact. Most of the unfortunate characters they played were basically that: unfortunate. Several of their stories were played more to the comic side, which made them seem more “spooky” than “dark”, and a few times I left a scene wondering what the point of it was.
The Stroll is an impressive undertaking, and an interesting way to see parts of downtown that may not be familiar even to people who live here. (Including two sets of dumpsters; it might be worth revising the route slightly next year!) This is the first time I’d been on the tour, as I’ve always been too late to get tickets in the past, and I’m hoping to get out again next year. It sells out regularly, though—at least four of the upcoming Thursday-through-Saturday performances are already sold out, so call the Fringe office soon if you want to go!
City Lights’ Teresa Tarasewicz took some video of last year’s performances (although several are quite dark, so it’s more of a radio experience :)). The videos cover some scenes not in this year’s edition.
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