Delusion's The Blue Blade: 2018 Review

Los Angeles, CA

Editor’s Note:
Scroll all the way to the bottom for big breaking news about an extension for Delusion: The Blue Blade!


When we last checked in with Delusion, it was 2016, and Delusion was in the midst of yet another wildly successful, fully sold-out run of envelope-pushing interactive theater, featuring a Gothic story revolving around feuding vampire clans and the uncovering of hidden family secrets. Delusion: His Crimson Queen was the most elaborate production yet, featuring the riveting acting, decadently decorated sets, enveloping soundscape, exhilarating stunts and theatrics, and arresting special effects that fans have grown to expect and love from Delusion.

Soon enough, His Crimson Queen wrapped up its run, and a year passed. And then… silence. Nothing from the Delusion front, no news of a show in 2017, and a slow realization and eventual confirmation that a suitable venue had not been found in time. Given that the venue always inspires the story of the play, without a venue, there would be no play. And so Delusion was dark for last year.

 Photo by Ray Lin and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Ray Lin and courtesy of Delusion.

After a nearly two-year drought, it’s no surprise that Delusionals (as the die-hard fans of Delusion are called) were salivating when word went out earlier this year of Delusion’s return. The excitement was replaced by intrigue as details began to emerge. This year’s haunted play would be called The Blue Blade, and it wouldn’t necessarily be that haunted at all, trading in Delusion’s recognizable Gothic and horror themes for a new science-fiction adventure plot in the vein of Indiana Jones meeting a bit of Back to the Future (with more suspense and drama and less comedy).

Delusion had done adventure before with Lies Within in 2014, bringing audiences into the dark fantasy tales of fictitious writer Elena Fitzgerald. But even then, there was a distinct element of horror underlying the entire plot. With The Blue Blade, action would be high, with guests playing the roles of new recruits in a secret order charged with protecting rare and mystical artifacts with world-altering potential!

 The commercial property fronting Adams Blvd. that is home to this year’s Delusion.

The commercial property fronting Adams Blvd. that is home to this year’s Delusion.

 The marquee is non-descript, though sharp-minded guests may catch the connection between the title and an aspect of the play itself.

The marquee is non-descript, though sharp-minded guests may catch the connection between the title and an aspect of the play itself.

Guests arrive at Delusion by finding a dingy commercial storefront on Adams Blvd., between the Mid-City and Crenshaw Districts of the city of Los Angeles. This is the Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, a ballroom, club, cafe, and bar that holds a multi-functional space suitable for a variety of performance or event hosting purposes. Parking is available at a flat lot across the street for $10, or on the street at variable and day/time-specific pricing. Ride sharing services like Lyft or Uber are also strongly encouraged.

 Guests should turn the corner of Adams and proceed northward along S. Cloverdale to find the check-in area.

Guests should turn the corner of Adams and proceed northward along S. Cloverdale to find the check-in area.

 Follow the poster into the bar area.

Follow the poster into the bar area.

However guests reach their destination, they first head to the outdoor bar located in the courtyard space off of S. Cloverdale Avenue, where they check in in advance of their actual scheduled reservation time. As with previous Delusion events, the bar is a nice way to unwind, have a drink, and relax prior to the show—and to do the same and catch up and piece together the disparate branches of the plot after the experience!

 The watering hole for those waiting for or finished with  Delusion: The Blue Blade .

The watering hole for those waiting for or finished with Delusion: The Blue Blade.

Phones plus any loose articles not desired to be brought into the actual set are collected shortly thereafter, and the story begins en proper once guests are summoned by a nervous-looking field agent scanning the surroundings for spying eyes. Pushed into a non-descript van parked on the side of the street next to the bar, the agent and an explanatory digital message proceed to lay out the plot, the roles, and the mission:

Present Day. Los Angeles.

The world has become erratic since the theft of the Blue Blade, an artifact of unknown origin rumored to give its owner the power to tear through the fabric of space and time. Once held by the Safeguard Society, an elite group of historians, the blade was stolen by Professor Evelyn Lowell...one of their own.

Evelyn went underground and unlocked the mysteries of the blade. For years she ran a black market, amassing wealth by taking clients to other eras. But as prying eyes grew near, she disappeared. Rumored to be protected by a shadowy cult.

The fate of time and space hang in the balance as Evelyn and the blade slip further away. As a sign of desperation, the Safeguard Society looks to you, their most promising initiates, to track down Evelyn and the blade.

There have been no leads. Until tonight.

 You know you’re in the right place because of this projected logo.

You know you’re in the right place because of this projected logo.

Given a brief moment to process the information, the audience is instructed to return to the bar to look for their lead, who may very well be sitting at a table at a far corner. But when their target takes note and flees, the chase is on! Guests hustle out onto the street, around, the corner, and into the building itself, where there adventure truly begins.

 Waiting… it only takes time…

Waiting… it only takes time…

What follows is an hour-long trek across global locations and time itself, bringing the story to settings that include WWII-era France in the grips of Nazi control, and the jungles of the Mayan Empire in the third century C.E.

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

As the audience-intitiates track down the whereabouts of Dr. Evelyn Lowell, they encounter a colorful cast of suspects and characters associated with her. Among them: Stanfeld, a longtime associate and business partner recently double crossed and abandoned by Dr. Lowell when she stole the Blue Blade; Carrick, an eccentric but skilled inventor of gadgets who assisted Dr. Lowell and perhaps shared a more personal relationship; Uta, a loyal servant of the Führer and pursuer of the Blue Blade herself; and more.

All the while, Dr. Evelyn Lowell continues to slip deeper and deeper into the crevices of the time trails she has sliced open, becoming more and more difficult to locate. And what are those shadowy figures called The Keepers?

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

As with previous seasons of Delusion, the actors are captivating and engrossing, drawing the audience deeply into the interactive play with emotion and passion. In addition, the scenic aesthetics of The Blue Blade is the strongest yet, with theming and set dressing so rich that each space appears convincingly transplanted from the era of its inspiration. One would never have guessed that the fast majority of the set—and more than has ever been done in any Delusion show—has been fabricated and installed. This year, Delusion has worked with Great Company, an experimental studio that produces and constructs interactive installations and immersive environments, to build a large part of the environment in place within the effective blank palette of the Fais Do-Do ballroom.

It’s a striking departure from the space-centric genesis of previous Delusion shows—which have all been physically set in residential manors (or an old church for Delusion: Masque of Mortality, in 2013)—but it has provided even more complex and creative scenes to bring to life for the audience participants. With less constraints, Jon Braver and his creative team have dropped the reins and really unleashed their imagination to run freely and wildly. To the point of literal lushness, as certain settings within the play demonstrate.

Indeed, the use of special and practical effects, cable and wire work, and large scale moving components has been elevated to a new level of sophistication in The Blue Blade. Creatures emerge and seem to levitate above the audience. Static items in the set transform into moving beings. The now-customary bungee stunts done by the cast members are even more dramatic and awe-inspiring than before. The action is certainly not lacking in this suspense film brought to life, and neither are the scares! Though the genre of the story is not horror, there are multiple startle scare moments that recall those momentary frights of peril in typical adventure films. The polished, cinematic quality of each scene is incredibly impressive, and it’s this aspect of the interactive play that truly and most successfully reinforces the immersion and active participation of the plot.

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

As with all previous iterations of Delusions, guests do play a part in the story, and their participation can take an enjoyable experience and elevate it to unforgettable. There are times when the overall group of eight will be split in half, and a remaining half further divided for sub-quests and side tasks to help further the story sequence. Delusion is “interactive” theater, not “immersive,” so it is not absolutely crucial to actively participate as the play moves along. One can simply observe as a static audience member who is simply in motion to follow along the cues and instruction of the cast, without detracting from the experience.

But it’s the guests who really slip deeply into their roles who are able to make their Delusion experiences unforgettable, because that relinquishment of real world bounds and the escapism into the tale traced out in The Blue Blade is truly exhilarating. And they give the actors fresh material and new dimensions to tap into, enriching their experiences as well! Naturally, those wanting to more actively participate should always remember the rules and be courteous and work within the story. The ability to banter back and forth with the characters does not give license to heckle, intentionally try to trip up the cast, or generally be a jerk. Generally speak when spoken to, though reasonable tolerance will be granted to those who speak unprompted but stay within the improvisational confines of the story being furthered. Fortunately, the make-up of those who go to Delusion generally precludes the hecklers and is more apt to contain the person who embraces the role and truly wants to play his or her part.

 Photo by Ray Lin and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Ray Lin and courtesy of Delusion.

The ultimate verdict on Delusion: The Blue Blade? Jon Braver and his talented team of producers, managers, assistants, specialists, artists, engineers, operators, and actors have once again managed to conjure an expectations-defying production that keeps the audience engaged throughout the production and leaves the audience enthralled even after they exit. Group members will very much want to reconvene after their experience has concluded in order to piece together the full sequence of events—especially what happens to each member during the moments of division. And though there are a few minor quibbles one might have with the logic of progression and isolated predictability in some of the plot details , they don’t hurt anything about the experience.

Delusion has reliably become one of the most anticipated and high-quality attractions open during Halloween season. The Blue Blade does nothing to lessen that title or the high expectations. Those who have already experienced the production for the month that it has been running know exactly how fantastically and wonderfully Delusion has delivered on its expectations. No matter how any mystical time-altering sword might be used, we don’t expect the allure and the excellence of Delusion to fade anytime soon…

 Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.

Photo by Robert Kozek and courtesy of Delusion.


One more thing… for those who have heard about Delusion but never managed to get at ticket until it was too late and sold out, your chance is available RIGHT NOW. Delusion: The Blue Blade has just announced a spring season extension, and tickets are on sale at https://www.enterdelusion.com/!

Here are the details:

The spring season of Delusion: The Blue Blad will run Thursday, February 14, 2019 through Sunday, June 30, 2019. Performances will occur every Thurs-Sunday, with shows from 6:40pm - 11:40pm. 

Pricing Information (all prices below are before service fees):

  • General Admission has 2 prices, $95 and $115, depending on peak timing. 

  • Due to popular demand, there will be a VIP package available now! The VIP Package will be priced at $185 includes (for 1 guest per package):

    • Blue Blade Prime Time Admission

    • Behind the Scenes VIP Tour

    • (2) Complimentary Drinks

    • Signed Blue Blade Poster

    • Discount Code for Delusion Official Merchandise

    • Collectible Show Ticket.

    • Only available at 8pm and 10pm per day. 

 Guests can also duck into the bar next door at the Cafe Club Fais Do-Do.

Guests can also duck into the bar next door at the Cafe Club Fais Do-Do.

This is pretty big news and wonderful chance for Delusion to spread beyond it’s most committed Delusionals and onto more of the general public who has heard about this incredible immersive theater series but never had a chance to experience it. Don’t wait. Get your tickets today!

 Poster courtesy of Delusion.

Poster courtesy of Delusion.

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.