REVIEW: The Garden of Lost Souls at Croxteth Park, 17/10/2012

The walled gardens of Croxteth Hall lent themselves to some cursed creatures from a bygone era last week as Lovehistory brought a new theatrical tour to the city, The Garden of Lost Souls. We sent our brave reviewer Sammy Pollock along.


With mist settling behind the grand building, foxes eyes reflected the moonlight as they glared from beneath the bushes, a brisk flutter of a bat was felt on the shoulder as it flew from the lurching branches, and this was the scene even before we were greeted by two demurely dressed bell boys. The location was perfect, the eerie ambiance created with minimal effort, the stage set.

Led through the looming walls of the hidden garden, candelabras lit the way beautifully, a romantic setting far from the Halloween horrors that were expected. Although the enchanting atmosphere was maintained throughout, a gatekeeper equipped with excellently grotesque make-up soon provided a hint of horror.  Our tour for the night, he would guide us through the gardens that were scattered with Victorian ghosts, but beware one mustn’t stray too far – presumably because you wouldn’t be able to hear as there weren’t many surprises lurking in the dark. The gatekeeper was responsible for the majority of commentary along the way, a great guide it was only the script that seen the act stumble, it would definitely welcome a re-write. The whole tour was lacking substance in fact, stories were scarce and ‘stay away, don’t touch us’ was as complex as the storyline spiralled for a third of the checkpoints. With the tales failing to entice your imagination, there were more jokes than scares. An unwilling victim being volunteered for a dance with a withering widow offered a moment of clear context however, with plausible acting revealing her dreary history. A moment of astonishing dexterity was provided by a convincing pumpkin that spun to life as the checkpoints began to complement each other and the stories opened our imagination. However, the moment was quickly lost with an interruption from an unmasked member of staff ushering the group further forward and offering a whisper of advice to our guide. Imagine watching a spine chilling horror movie, it’s building up to the murder, the daring music is getting louder as your heart beats faster, for the director to walk on set and shout cut, the atmosphere was blown. 

The cutest of vampire boys warmed the heart, before just as easily having it jump with fright, exactly what the tour needed to have amplified throughout the experience. Providing your imaginations are successfully captured, with the haunted backdrop, chilling costumes and a menacing trip through the tunnel of insanity, the tour has the potential to be a hair-raising experience for the little ones. Unfortunately, this time we were left as lost as the souls themselves.  

You can unlock the secrets and screams that lay behind the garden walls on the 28th, 29th and 30th October

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