Toronto theatregoers with a taste for the macabre and the comical got a special treat last night when Eric Woolfe of Eldritch Theatre previewed his latest work, Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show. Currently staged as a one-man show, Doc Wuthergloom is Eldritch’s follow-up to last fall’s Madhouse Variations and casts the actor-puppeteer as a traveling exorcist whose tales of the macabre are all in the service of selling you a spellbook to protect you from malevolent spirits.

Potential audience members for this weekend’s three shows could only find out the performance’s locations by buying a ticket. Having gathered in the dark and cold of Kensington Market, our hostesses read out our names and led us blindfolded into the bowels of the performance space. At 8 o’clock sharp, our host took the stage.

Aided by simple props and hand puppets, Woolfe, dressed like a carnival barker, regales us for 90 minutes with a series of interwoven tales about misguided love, deceit and murder. Woolfe also performs a number of tricks for which he calls on members of the audience. The tone is light during these sketches but Doc Wuthergloom has its serious moments, and it’s this combination of levity and drama, alongside Woolfe’s considerable skills in creating memorable characters via odd hand puppets and props, which has made Eldritch Theatre such a treat.

Tickets for this weekend’s shows are apparently sold out, but Woolfe hopes to stage the show again this fall, potentially around Halloween dependent on funding and schedules.

For more information, go to Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show.

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