The Willows – An Immersive Theater Review

What exactly is The Willows?  Is it a haunt?  No, not really.  Is it an escape room? No, you will not escape unless the members of the Willows family allow you to escape.  Is it a play?  Close.  Brought to you by JFI Productions (CreepLA), The Willows is an interactive theater experience, which means that the show is going on all around you at all times.  There is no audience.  You have a part to play.  You will be front and center in a mystery that only you can help solve.  You will have to uncover the secrets of The Willows.



Imagine you receive an invitation to a lavish dinner party at the home of a very mysterious family.  The instructions are simple – arrive at the provided address, dress appropriately and check in with a man standing on the street corner.  The Willows have graciously invited eighteen guests to a celebration at their posh mansion…but what kind of celebration are we attending?  Why are they so secretive?  What is really going on in that house?  Unfortunately, I can’t answer those questions without ruining the experience for you – and trust me, you wouldn’t want that.  It’s best to go in blind…and you do, literally.  After you check in with the man on the street corner (who has a glowing lantern at his feet, as if you could ever miss him), you are blindfolded and whisked away and are then completely immersed in the wonderfully weird world of The Willows.  


As you step out of the van and take off your blindfold (part of the intrigue is that you really have no idea where you’re going until you get there), you are welcomed with open arms into an immaculately decorated mansion.  The show starts as soon as you walk through the door…maybe even a bit before.  For the next two and a half hours, you are at the mercy of this strange (but very friendly) family.  There will be drinks, dinner, games and even dancing!  Will you help Deirdre set the table or will you help Priscilla get dressed?  Will you end up playing a game upstairs with Conrad or will you be taking shots in the kitchen with Claudia?  It’s not up to you.  You go where they lead you and if they tell you to stay, you stay.  Expect to be separated from your friends immediately…they really do an incredible job of taking you out of your comfort zone.   


I should clarify that this isn’t a terrifying “I think I’m going to die” experience, so if you are expecting the adrenaline of the jump scare, then maybe this isn’t for you.  However, if you want to be genuinely and completely creeped out and you like that uneasy feeling of not knowing what the hell is going on, then I’m surprised you haven’t bought your tickets already.  After all, what could be scarier than not knowing anything?  


The Willows is an event that you do not want to miss.  It is what interactive theater should always be!  Every detail was obviously planned to perfection and the entire cast was…well, there are no words to describe how absolutely amazing they are.  They are so involved in their roles that they actually are the Willows family.  I will definitely be going back and taking all of my friends with me – and I can, because each and every occurance is completely unique.  You will never have the same experience twice.   



The Willows is put on by the brilliant minds behind CreepLA.  You can visit their website here.


All photos by Hatbox Photography

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